It took him awhile, but ShoreIndie decided to take issue with my argument about oil supplies and needing more exploration to both help reduce the per-barrel price and potentially create thousands of energy-related jobs.
The straw man argument that is provided to prove that there’s a “lack of reason” among conservative bloggers relates in part to two posts I recently did, Overtime inside the Beltway and Response to comment #94462. Well, ShoreIndie wanted a source to confirm that the oil leases which are off-limits have more oil than the areas currently leased by oil companies. The Democrats who sponsored H.R. 6251 claimed that areas leased but not currently explored could produce 4.8 million barrels a day but there’s no total provided. Meanwhile, spokespeople for the oil companies claim that much of the leased area is already “tapped out.”
Even if I were to take the Democrats at their word, figures from the federal government’s Mineral Management Service show that there’s 18.9 billion recoverable barrels unavailable to extraction on just the Outer Continental Shelf alone. According to my public school math, areas unavailable would provide that 4.8 million barrels a day the Democrats claim would result from recovering oil on already-leased land for 3,938 days (or 10.7 years). This doesn’t count the billions of barrels available in ANWR or the 1.8 trillion barrels of oil shale on land which is 73% under the control of the federal government but barely leased under research and development leases.
Even worse, in telling me that I “can’t have it both ways” in talking about my post hoc argument regarding the do-nothing Democratic Congress (when it comes to productive energy legislation), he cites a bill which was signed by President Bush on December 20, 2006 – the problem there is that Congress was still in GOP hands at that point. Pelosi and company didn’t start ruining the country until January of 2007. Additionally, even if you take the 30 million or so acres that ShoreIndie cites as recently opened for oil development in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, it’s a small fraction of the 611 million acres off-limits based on the report I cited above. Granted, it’s progress but scant progress compared to the favoritism granted to a number of “alternative” energy sources and regulation overkill in just this bill (all 310 pages of it.)
It’s unfortunate that ShoreIndie doesn’t get the point that it’s not just about oil, it’s about more and better jobs for Americans and maintaining both our high standard of living and our security should there be another energy crisis. And the argument that we’re years away from extracting all of this new oil can be answered by noting that we’re also years away from, as a local example, the Bluewater Wind offshore wind farm (scheduled to go online in 2012) or most other examples of renewable energy. Neither solution is immediate, but already having the economy that’s oil-driven means that we should strive to eventually change over with as little impact on the market and as little government interference as possible.