David Vitter’s (et al) Stimulus Plan

“To stimulate the economy and create jobs at no cost to the taxpayers, and without borrowing money from foreign governments for which our children and grandchildren will be responsible, and for other purposes.”

 

So reads the introduction to HR 1431, a piece of legislation that was introduced in the House of Representatives on March 11, 2009 by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT).  Identical legislation was introduced in the Senate as S-570 by Senators Vitter (R-LA) and Shadegg (R-AZ) soon after.  David Vitter renewed his call for this legislation to be debated today.

 

The No Cost Stimulus Act, authored by “the party of ‘No’” and of “no ideas,” would create jobs in the energy sector by promoting domestic oil and gas production, streamlining nuclear powerplant construction,  and limiting the EPA’s authority to impose economy-killing mandates that many believe are outside their jurisdiction.  These proposals, excepting the latter, are completely consistent with President Obama’s comments on growing the energy sector during his State of the Union Message, though frequent readers will recall our skepticism of those remarks.  “Actions speak louder than words,” and past actions of the Obama administration cause us to extrapolate that skepticism to include any support for this legislation as well.  This legislation has been lingering for almost a year with no indication that the leaders of the majority party will place it on the docket of either chamber for debate.  Neither has there been an outcry from the public to debate and pass this legislation, for there has been little or no publicity of it (a Google search of the topic provided no sources from “mainstream media” websites in the first fifty hits).

 

As summarized above, this legislation addresses three primary areas of job creation, and simultaneously helps the nation make great strides towards energy independence.  Imagine a growing economy fueled by high paying jobs and clean, reliable energy sources that are not dependent on countries that hate us for their supply!

 

Oil Exploration and Production

 

President George W Bush, before he left office, took steps to open up 85% of US territorial waters for exploration and production.  Congressional limitations on exploring those waters were subsequently allowed to expire.  The Department of the Interior began taking steps to make these resources available.  The general public expressed strong support for renewed domestic exploration (remember “drill, baby, drill” and “drill here, drill now?”).  Then along came “hope and change,” and progress ceased.    As the Heritage Foundation reports,

 

“Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar extended the initial 60-day comment period to six months, unnecessarily delaying the process of leasing offshore areas to energy companies for drilling and access to domestic resources.”

 

The No Cost Stimulus Act includes provisions to expedite the lease approval process rather than delay it as Secretary Salazar is doing, while providing a reasonable environmental review process, but also recognizing that current technologies greatly reduce the likelihood of environmental harm from drilling activity.

 

There is an estimated 19 billion barrels of oil, the equivalent of 30 years of imports from Saudi Arabia at present day rates, available from this source.

 

While again remaining sensitive to environmental concerns, the No Cost Stimulus Act would open selected areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for exploration and production of oil, with similar provisions for expedited approvals.  Drilling in ANWR would only be allowed during periods when the ground is frozen, thus having no affect on wildlife migration that occurs during warmer periods.

 

There is an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil available from this source.

 

And lastly, this legislation provides for the recovery of crude oil from domestic shale formations.  Secretary Salazar recently reversed agreements that would have allowed for exploration and production of this oil on federal lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.  Sale of such leases by the DOI would be authorized by this legislation when the recovery technology becomes feasible.

 

Conservative estimates place available quantities of oil from shale at 800 billion barrels.

 

Expedited Approval Processes

 

Despite having received about 20 applications to construct more than 30 new nuclear reactors, no new reactors have been approved in this country for over three decades.  This legislation provides for accelerating that process so as to permit the construction of new, safe, clean power generation facilities.

 

Similarly, energy projects under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency for review generally require about 4 ½ years to advance through the process.  This legislation would limit those reviews to 270 days so the projects might one day be built.

 

Unlegislated Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction

 

Both the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act have been proposed as vehicles by which the construction of generating facilities and the production of domestic energy resources could be delayed or killed.  The No Cost Stimulus Plan would block recent efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases without legislative authority. 

 

Our nation needs this legislation.  It will create revenue for the national treasury, to the tune of an estimated $273billion per year from offshore oil royalties, and another $158billion from ANWR.  Estimates of revenue at the state level, and as would be generated from oil bearing shale, are not as readily available, but would be significant.  And these are not taxes on individuals, but rather are positive consequences of normal leasing activities.

 

And it will create an estimated 2million jobs which are sorely needed in this economy.  Engineers, geologists, and skilled craftsperson’s are required to locate and extract the oil, and to design and construct nuclear powerplants. 

 

Finally, it will greatly contribute to energy independence.  This nation is highly dependent on the importation of resources for the production of fossil fuels from regions of the world that don’t like us very much.  Monies we send them in exchange for their oil is often used to fund Jihadist terror training and attacks on this nation.  Why should we continue to fund those activities when the energy we need is available from our own sources?

 

This is important legislation.  ANWR.org reports that it was supported in the Senate at its introduction by Senators Christopher Bond (MO), Jim Bunning (KY), Tom Coburn (OK), Thad Cochran (MS), John Cornyn (TX), Jim DeMint (SC), John Ensign (NV), Michael Enzi (WY), James Inhofe (OK), James Risch (ID), Jeff Sessions (AL), and Richard Shelby (AL).  In the House, it is supported by Representatives Todd Akin (MO), Michele Bachmann (MN), Spencer Bachus (AL), Marsha Blackburn (TN), John Boozman (AZ), Charles Boustany (LA), Paul Broun (GA), Henry Brown (SC), Michael Burgess (TX), Bill Cassidy (LA), Jason Chaffetz (UT), Michael Conaway (TX), Mary Fallin (OK), John Fleming (LA), Virginia Foxx (NC), Trent Franks (AZ), Scott Garrett (NJ), John Gingrey (GA), Louis Gohmert (TX), Walter Herger (CA), Jim Jordan (OH), Jack Kingston (GA), John Kline (MN), Doug Lamborn (CO), Robert Latta (OH), Jerry Lewis (CA), Cynthia Lummus (WY), Kevin McCarthy (CA), Tom McClintock (CA), Thaddeus McCotter (MI), Patrick McHenry (NC), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), Randy Neugebauer (TX), Devin Nunes (CA), Joseph Pitts (PA), Tom Price (GA), George Radanovich (CA), Dennis Rehberg (MT), Dana Rohrabacher (CA), Steve Scalise (LA), John Shadegg (AZ), Michael Simpson, (ID), Mark Souder (IN), John Sullivan (OK), William Thornberry (TX), Zach Wamp (TN), Lynn Westmoreland (GA), and Donald Young (AK).

 

These members of the House and Senate need to know that we support them, and members whose names are absent need to be encouraged to support it if they haven’t joined the contingent yet.  This legislation merits the same kind of grass roots engagement as was given healthcare “reform” and the Scott Brown for Senate efforts.  Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi must be strongly encouraged to bring this legislation forward.

 

Ashley Alber summarizes it best at Human Events.com, where she says

 

“The first so-called “stimulus” package cost each American family about $18,000.  But the Democrats aren’t done.  After a conference with economists (recently), Speaker Pelosi indicated she’d be open to a second spending spree in an amount to be determined.

Republicans – incorrectly being blamed for having no alternatives – are again proposing legislation that (a) would stimulate the economy and (b) not cost the taxpayers a dime.

An increase in GDP and creating more than 2 million long term, sustainable jobs without spending trillions of dollars sounds impossible during an administration that spends money like a teenage girl.”

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