18 June 2008

Rahall Weighs in on Drilling

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-3rd, is pushing legislation that would require oil companies to "start producing oil on their 68 million acres of inactive land or risk federal restrictions on future lease requests," the Charleston Daily Mail reports.

Citing a report from Rahall's Committee on Natural Resources, the article said "oil and gas companies hold leases to 68 million acres of federal land and waters, spread out all across the country, that are not producing anything. An additional 4.8 million barrels of oil could be produced daily if the land was utilized."

Rahall talked to The Register-Herald of Beckley about his bill late last week. He told that paper "It would trim the oil imports by more than one-third, lessening the nation’s reliance on foreign oil," and "reasoned other companies might have an opportunity to explore and possibly find new sources of oil and gas if existing leases were surrendered by non-producing firms."

Rahall's Republican opponent in the fall election, Marty Gearheart, has responded by contrasting the proposed legislation with Rahall's opposition to opening Alaska and coastal areas for drilling.

The Daily Mail said the committee report "
acknowledges that increased domestic drilling could affect gas prices, yet there is no justification to open additional federal lands because oil and gas companies aren't making use of what they have leased."

Update: The Charleston Gazette actually reported on the committee's findings last week. "The vast majority of oil and gas resources on federal lands are already open for drilling," that article said. "A little more than one-third of oil resources and 16 percent of natural gas reserves on public lands are off-limits to industry... Those are closed to drilling largely because they are underneath national parks or wilderness areas."

1 comment:

clear eyes said...

If Rahall really believes that he's better at making decisions as to where an when it is economical to explore for oil, perhaps he should retire from congress and start up an oil company. Surely he could compete with these companies an win, since he knows where the most economical spots are to drill better thaqn they do.

Seriously, are we really supposed to believe both that these greedy "Big Oil" companies have devised a grand strategy to take every penny we have and that they are too stupid to drill for oil in places where it can be economically produced?