Congratulations, Chris! And thank you for all your hard work. You've been a fantastic congressman and have represented us well on issue after issue.
The Deseret News reports:
House ends ban on oil shale, offshore drilling
By Lee Davidson
Deseret News and Associated Press
Published: Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008 12:29 a.m. MDT
WASHINGTON — The House, responding to growing public demand for more domestic energy, voted Wednesday to end a quarter-century ban on oil and natural gas drilling off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts — and a more recent ban on developing oil shale in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado.
Extension of the bans for another year was left off a $630 billion-plus stopgap government spending bill that President Bush had threatened a veto — possibly shutting down the government — if the bill had included Democratic proposals that Republicans said allowed too little drilling and development.
It gave Republicans a key win on energy policy. But it was also a victory for moderate Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah.
He had persuaded House Democratic leaders earlier to support dropping the ban on developing oil shale ban to instead allow it in states that approve it, which Utah likely would. Democrats proposed to include Matheson's language in the stopgap spending bill, and put it in an earlier Democratic energy bill.
While Matheson's language was not in the final spending bill, he said, "The bottom line is that the moratorium on oil-shale development lapses in a week because I succeeded in building strong bipartisan support for opening up the option."
He added, "We need to find more oil in our country, and Utah's resources are a key part of the effort."
Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, also said, "Today's news is a victory for common sense and a breakthrough in energy development for Utah and our nation."
He added, "Americans have spoken loud and clear that we need to find more American energy today so we don't face a similar energy crisis in the future. This decision puts us closer to answering their calls."
Utah, Colorado and Wyoming may have up to 1.8 trillion barrels of oil trapped in oil shale by some estimates. Environmental groups strongly opposed lifting a moratorium on issuing final rules to allow leases for development, saying it will threaten wild areas, use huge amounts of scarce water and hurt global warming.
The bill was approved 370-58 and now goes to the Senate, where it is likely to be approved within the next few days, also without the bans.
The decision to avoid a fight with the White House over offshore drilling marks a major shift by Democrats on energy policy and a reflection that the GOP argument for more domestic energy production had found a support among voters this election year, even though coastal states long have worried that offshore drilling might cause spills, soil beaches and threaten their tourist businesses.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain has made expanded offshore drilling a central part of his campaign, arguing that access to an estimated 18 billion barrels of oil in the off-limits Outer Continental Shelf is essential if the country is to become more energy independent.
People can make all the claims they want, but I know for a fact Chris has been fighting this battle his entire time in Congress. With the ban lifted, Shell Corporation can move forward with drilling for shale oil in Utah immediately. Well assuming the 47 permits required by the federal government have either been obtained or rendered unnecessary. Yeah right.
Nonetheless, congratulations, Chris. Thank you! Prosperity will pour into Utah from another source besides technology and herbs. In a matter of two years diesel will be flowing onto the market, the byproduct of oil shale is jet fuel, flight prices should reduce, the airlines can be functioning normally and things should be better. If the Democrats will just stay out of the way.
Chris recommended to me, some months ago, that we purchase a diesel vehicle. I've been looking at natural gas, but the news report last night created some hesitation there. Now diesel . . . yeah, that one I can work with.
Now, if Congress will allow the continued research into alternative sources without chopping off oil we'll all be in better shape. Because I forgot to mention the astronomical cost of gas as helping destabilize our economy.
Oh yeah, if we can just get someone to focus on our southern border. No, I haven't forgotten the severe security risk our southern border presents. The southern border of Texas has been completely overtaken by Mexican gangs and there is no English to be spoken in any of those towns. The problem will only grow worse.
Economy. Check. Now be smart with the chance we've been given. Okay, uncheck! Pork and egos are standing in the way. Oh yeah, and the wise ones demanding oversight and accountability. The Republicans are deeply concerned about the socialist aspect of this plan and want its implementation. They want to come up with a better plan.
Oil. Check. Don't get in the way.
Now illegal immigration and our southern border.
You rock, Chris!