June 18, 2008

A Snowball's Chance in Florida

Hatched by Dafydd

The snowball is rolling down the hill -- in the midst of summer heat! I refer to the snowball of finally, finally, lifting the moratorium on drilling for oil on the outer continental shelf (OCS). As it rolls, it picks up a lot of support... even a plurality of liberals now support lifting the ban. And for the very first time today, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has actually reversed his longstanding opposition:

Gov. Charlie Crist has dropped his long-standing support for the federal government's moratorium on offshore oil drilling and endorsed Sen. John McCain's proposal to let states decide.

The governor said he reversed his position because of rising fuel prices and states' rights. Crist is considered a possible running mate for McCain, the Republican presidential nominee.

"I mean, let's face it, the price of gas has gone through the roof, and Florida families are suffering," Crist said Tuesday. "And my heart bleeds for them."

[Note to Breitbart: In case you're heading down the same road as the Associated Press, fantasizing that you can unilaterally abrogate the "fair use" exemption to copyright and start charging bloggers for every quotation, the total number of words of yours quoted above is 84. Of course, 25 of those words were actually spoken by Gov. Crist, who presumably maintains copyright on them. But in any event, I will not pay you a dime.

Sue me. I'm itching for the fight.]

Setting aside the gag-worthy final five words in Crist's quotation (yeesh), this reversal makes it all the more difficult for Democrats to maintain their institutional opposition to producing any new energy anywhere in America, excepting whatever you can generated via windmill or by three donkeys marching in a circle connected to a generator. But in this case, their contrarian argument is so bizarre, that I doubt even they believe it:

Democrats also argued additional offshore drilling would not affect prices set on the world market.

"It would only increase oil companies' record-breaking profits," said Florida Democratic Party spokesman Mark Bubriski. [115 words total, with 34 copyrighted by people who don't work for Breitbart.]

After this statement, the interview was suspended for several hours to allow Bubriski's nose to shrink back to its normal size.

If I understand the reasoning, all that new oil would increase oil companies' profits because they would refine it into gasoline and then sell it. But adding a huge bunch of new supply won't bring down prices, because the 110th Congress recently repealed the law of supply and demand.

Of course, not all is wine and Rosicrucians; RINO Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California still adamantly opposes lifting the ban. This is no surprise; in fact, I'm willing to bet $50 that Schwarzenegger will begin campaigning with Barack H. Obama before this campaign season ends. That is, unless he wants to sleep on the couch for the rest of his term.

But Schwarzenegger's opposition is meaningless, as the California legislature is so much in thrall to the Democratic Party that Cal-GOP essentially doesn't even exist. So even if we had the president of Exxon Mobil as governor, California would still never allow offshore drilling... that is, if it had any say in it. (See below.)

Florida is a much more important state in this regard, because it's actually in play -- both for the policy and the election. The Florida state legislature has a heavy Republican majority in both houses: 77 to 43 (64% to 36%) in the Florida House of Representatives, and 26 to 14 (65% to 35%) in the Florida Senate. (Which makes it all the weirder that the aptly named SCOFLA, the Supreme Court of Florida, is so much in the tank for Democrats, as we saw in 2000.)

For that reason, I think it very likely that if the federal Congress ever lifts the ban on OCS drilling, Florida will vote to authorize it; and now we know that Gov. Crist will not veto that legislation. This is vital, because Florida sits on the eastern edge of the Gulf of Mexico, which is a prime target for oil drilling -- not just on the OCS but in the middle of the Gulf as well.

The other states that border the Gulf, working westward, are Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and of course Texas, which forms the western edge of the Gulf. AL, MS, and LA all have state legislatures more or less dominated by Democrats (though I believe the Mississippi state senate has a narrow GOP majority); while in TX, the Republicans have control. But even in the Democratic legislatures between Texas and Florida, there is no guaranteed opposition to drilling: A lot of royalties and jobs are generated by oil leases, and those states are perennially in economic trouble.

Finally, I still have this general quibble: If the territorial waters of the United States extend only 12 miles out -- far short of the OCS -- then why should states be able to claim exclusive authority to allow or ban drilling far beyond those limits? The U.N. concept of an "exclusive economic zone" (EEZ), which extends 200 miles beyond a nation's shores, explicitly refers to national economic sovereignty, not state control.

I frankly believe that Congress should simply order all parts of the OCS that are within the EEZ of the U.S.A. opened up to leases by oil companies for exploration and exploitation; and to hell with what individual states like California want. This is a national issue (actually a national-security issue), and we've kowtowed to them for too long.

That is, when they opposed drilling; when they support drilling, we've run roughshod over their opinions -- and thereby hangs the tail. The current ban itself proves that Congress has the final authority; after all, if they can constitutionally ban drilling over any objections of the states, then they likewise have the opposite power to allow drilling over any such objections.

But in any event, allowing Florida and Texas -- and possibly Alabama, Mississipi, and Louisiana -- to choose to allow drilling for oil in the OCS and in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico is a huge, huge step in the right direction.

But of course, the Democrats in Congress cannot possibly vote to lift the ban... because their environmentalist masters will beat them black and green with a rolled up copy of the Good Earth Catalog. So once again, Democrats will stand athwart the economy yelling "stop!"

And that will give Republicans the ultimate wedge issue to peel off a lot of Independent and even moderate Democrat voters in November. Pay little attention to the polls today; this argument will begin to resonate after the GOP has been pounding on it for a couple of months. The time to see whether this is having any effect will be about the end of August... that's when we'll see whether 2008 will be the "perfect storm" for Democrats (as political "pundants" have been saying for two years), or else a shocking win for Republicans.

As always, I never bet against the collective wisdom of the American people; so my money is on the GOP, no matter what Scott Rasmussen says today.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 18, 2008, at the time of 6:02 PM

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The following hissed in response by: hunter

The Governator has shown himself a true idiot in this.
I say cut off oil to any state the refuses to permit drilling.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 18, 2008 9:13 PM

The following hissed in response by: cdquarles

Alabama, Dafydd, lost a big chunk of oil revenue from the last offshore lease auction because FL refused to allow a waiver so that AL, which allows offshore drilling (you can see the rigs in Mobile Bay).

You can rest assured that the Alabama legislature is drooling over the added interest that more drilling will yield (Gov. Fob James, R, locked up the principal years ago...only the interest from the oil & gas royalties can be spent).

BTW, there is a big water war going on here between the Army Corps of Engineers, GA (mainly metro ATL), AL, and FL over downstream river flow from the Coosa River system, the Tallapoosa River system, and the Chattahoochee River system. All of these river systems have their sources in northern GA in and around Metro Atlanta. Atlanta has grown so much in the last 40 years that it is now 5 times the size of Metro Birmingham, up from 2 times way back when.

The above hissed in response by: cdquarles [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 18, 2008 11:02 PM

The following hissed in response by: Geoman

"Democrats also argued additional offshore drilling would not affect prices set on the world market."

Okay, this is stupid, but what if it were true? Don't we still have an enormous advantage in drilling for our own oil on our own soil for the following reasons:

1) Oil companies in the U.S. are under much stricter environmental scrutiny that outside the U.S., therefore, we can extract the oil here safer and cleaner than elsewhere.

2) The money we spend for the oil stays here.

Liberals and geenies are inhumane, and wish to promote instability, terrorism, and pollution in the third world. Thye know it, and could care less.

This is like the old saw that ANWR won't come on line for 10 years if we opened it today. True, but they said that 10 years ago. And 10 years before that.

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 19, 2008 11:31 AM

The following hissed in response by: AMR

With the Chinese drilling for Cuba within 50 miles of Key West in the joint Americamn/Cuban oil field and Venezuela and Brazil supposedly eager to drill there, why not allow access to the more safety conscience and “green” American oil companies.

Also little attention is being given to the estimated 413 billion barrels of oil available quickly in the Bakken formation in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. See this link. Each well, even with the increased cost of the new technology, would cost about 5 million; considerably less than that of an offshore oil rig or drilling in ANWR, although that also needs to be developed.

The above hissed in response by: AMR [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 19, 2008 6:20 PM

The following hissed in response by: john133

Let's be honest, emotions aside. Do any of you believe that the majority wants to continue the policies of a broke down administration?
Addiction Recovery Florida

The above hissed in response by: john133 [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 11, 2008 10:53 PM

The following hissed in response by: john133

Let's be honest, emotions aside. Do any of you believe that the majority wants to continue the policies of a broke down administration?
Addiction Recovery Florida

The above hissed in response by: john133 [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 11, 2008 10:54 PM

The following hissed in response by: john133

Let's be honest, emotions aside. Do any of you believe that the majority wants to continue the policies of a broke down administration?
Addiction Recovery Florida

The above hissed in response by: john133 [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 11, 2008 10:54 PM

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