Dems ‘Drilling Bill’ Won’t Produce Single Drop of Oil, GOP Says

By Josiah Ryan | September 16, 2008 | 6:38 PM EDT

(Update: The debate on offshore oil drilling is now moving to the Senate. The House late Tuesday passed a bill that would open waters 50 miles off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to oil and natural gas development, if the adjacent states agree to go along. The vote was 236-189.)

On the Spot ( –
An energy bill introduced by Democrats Monday night to allow limited offshore drilling in U.S. coastal waters will never permit the production of a single drop of oil, Republicans told on Tuesday.
Democrats, however, say that they are finally giving the GOP a chance to vote to allow offshore oil drilling, and they deny claims that the bill will not produce additional oil.
“This bill is a bald-face lie,” said Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.). “It doesn’t help America. It’s not going to produce one drop of oil.”
“This bill is absolutely meaningless,” Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) told reporters at a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday morning. “Any American who thinks with this legislation we will even start trying to produce oil in the next eight years is being deceived or mistaken.”
In the press conference, about 15 Republican House members took turns describing the bill as a “sham,” “hoax,” “charade,” “optical illusion,” and so on.
But Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) told that the bill will in fact produce more American oil.
“Drilling is the purpose – that’s one of the reasons we wrote the bill,” Emanuel told Tuesday when asked if he believed the bill would produce oil. The congressman said he didn’t know how much oil the bill would produce.
According to the bill’s introduction, the “Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act” will seek to “end dependency on oil through renewable and clean, alternative fuel technologies while building a bridge to the future through expanded access to federal oil and natural gas resources.”
The legislation, which was introduced by Democrats at 9:45 p.m. on Monday night, would allow drilling in select areas on the coast outside of a 50-mile boundary offshore if individual states agree to allow it.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the bill is a bipartisan energy package designed to chart a new national course.  
“It’s part of a bipartisan compromise,” said Pelosi at an afternoon press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday. “The choice on the floor today is the status quo or a chance to take our country into a new direction.”
But many Republicans say that the bill is not bipartisan and that it contains a long list of “flaws” that preclude its ability to provide the nation with more oil. 
  • They claim that states will not agree to drill if they are not offered greater incentives in the form of revenue sharing.
  • They claim the bill does not include language that would discourage lawsuits from environmental groups that would mire drilling in legal battles for years.
  • They claim that up to 80 percent of offshore oil lies within the 50-mile boundary that the bill excludes from possible drilling.
“This bill won’t do a d---- thing about American energy,” exclaimed House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on the House floor Tuesday morning. 
But House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) pitched the bill as a choice between drilling and not drilling.
“The Republicans said they wanted drilling and an all-of-the-above drilling package,” said Hoyer. “Today on the floor, we have a bill that substantially expands drilling opportunities and includes renewable conservation investment. Today we find out whether the Republicans are interested in producing oil or campaign slogans.”
Pelosi added that, if the Republicans are not satisfied with what the bill offers, it is because they want to continue to do the “dance of big oil” on the House floor.