FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Energy State Dems: The New Endangered Species
Democratic politicians once ruled the energy-producing states, but they are becoming quite a rare breed. Republicans scored strong electoral gains in the Congressional elections of 2010, particularly in Texas. Here in Louisiana, both houses of the state legislature have swung red, by a combination of election and defection; it’s no secret who owns the moratorium and a host of other energy-hostile policy initiatives. Sen. Mary Landrieu remains the sole remaining Democrat in a statewide elective office in the Pelican State.
Mary and the other energy state Dems know upon which side their bread is buttered. Democrats in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana have a long history of working cooperatively with the oil and gas industry as a engine of jobs and economic growth in each of their respective states.
But now, an openly hostile regime in Washington puts a strain on those historic ties. And back home, the energy state Dems must distance themselves as far as they can manage from Obama, Reid, and the national party leadership.
But even if the energy states were to become solid red, we’re talking TX, LA, OK, AK, WY & ND (and to a lesser degree KS, MS and blue WV). That’s not a lot of representation in Congress, and not a lot of electoral votes. We need to get Republicans and independents in the energy consuming states to wake up to the realization that they, too have a dog in this fight. We must defeat the Democratic energy agenda, which is a prescription for higher energy prices and a lower standard of living for us all.
Sen. Landrieu’s press release:
WASHINGTON — In a speech on the floor of the United States Senate, Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today strongly opposed a bill authored by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., that would end energy subsidies for major integrated oil companies in the oil and gas industry. The bill targets a single industry that supports 9.2 million jobs, contributes more than 7.7 percent to the U.S. GPD and in 2009, generated $18.1 billion in severance taxes and $6.5 billion in royalties. …
Currently, U.S. oil and natural gas companies pay more than $86 million to the federal government in both income taxes and production fees every day. In addition, since 2000, the oil and gas industry has invested almost $1.7 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives, while reducing the industry’s environmental footprint.
In studying similar proposals that the Obama Administration has pushed, the Congressional Research Service found they “would make oil and natural gas more expensive for U.S. consumers and likely increase foreign dependence.”
The Menendez bill also made some factually misleading claims:
Claim: The U.S. is producing more oil than any time in the last 13 years.
Facts: While this might have been true before the Deepwater Horizon accident, the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) now estimates that U.S. production will decline to 1.14 million barrels of oil a day by 2012. The last time this country produced less than 1.2 million barrels of oil per day was 1997, over a decade ago. Before the Deepwater Horizon accident, EIA projected we would produce 1.82 million barrels of oil a day. That’s a difference of 680,000 barrels of oil a day.
[Actually, they’re both wrong. Sen. Landrieu’s figures reflect the U.S. Gulf of Mexico only, but to that extent she’s correct. Sen. Menendez’ claim is just flat-out wrong. – Ed.]
Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) also criticized the direction of the national Democrats yesterday on the floor of the Senate. [The only links I can readily find on this story are at “progressive” sites; these quotes are from The Huffington Post. Google it.]
Begich chided the party for putting message over substance. “It is a gimmick, a gimmick to get the next week of activity, and get some press out there,” he said. “Picking on one industry because it sounds good, rates good in the polls, gets you a couple of headlines is not what the American people want us to do here. If anything, they’re getting fed up with that. … Let’s stop the headline-grabbing and get serious about the energy security.”
The infighting couldn’t come at a worse time for Democratic leaders. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), is reportedly “leaning towards” voting to strip the tax breaks, citing “record profits” that come from the companies’ “tax advantage,” according to a tweet from CNN’s Ted Barrett. [Oy, vey. – Ed.]
“The fact is, developing Alaska’s oil and gas resources buys our country decades of energy security by offsetting foreign imports from unfriendly countries,” Begich said. “Consider a few examples, which I have here on the board next to me: developing offshore resources in the Chukchi – up in this area — and the Beaufort Sea will produce 1.8 million barrels of oil a day. This is easily enough to offset oil imports from Saudi Arabia.”
Oil, however, is sold on on international market, so the notion that Saudi Arabian tankers would be diverted from American shores is a stretch. [Oh, you’re sooo sophisticated, HuffPo. And sooo full of crap. – Ed.]
Sen. Landrieu was quoted in the same article:
“This will not reduce gasoline prices. So why are we doing it? Will it create jobs? No. It will actually hurt job production in the United States,” Landrieu said. “Why don’t you help us produce more, because we can do it, but we get shut down by bureaucracy, moratoriums, permatorium, rules, regulations, EPA, refuges. We can’t even get free to produce the energy that we can produce for this country.”
Sen. Landrieu’s term ends in 2014.
Cross-posted at SteveMaley.com.