Rebutting the Gang of 10

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008 9:34 am by Neal

Gang of 10 member Bob Corker has been working the phones hard to make the case for a lousy deal. Here’s his pitch to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit:

SO THE PHONE RANG JUST A BIT AGO, AND IT WAS SEN. BOB CORKER, calling to talk about the “gang of ten” energy compromise plan. That’s gotten some flak from Republicans, but Corker called to say that it’s unfair. He was fired up — by contrast to his laid-back persona the last time we spoke, during the campaign — and says that in fact, the bill that he’s a co-sponsor of is a better — more pro-drilling and pro-energy — bill than the McConnell bill that garnered 44 Republican votes in the Senate. Here are some of his points:

1. The “gang of 10” bill unilaterally opens up drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, with no state veto. The GOP bill didn’t do that, because Mel Martinez and Charlie Crist didn’t want it. Non-Gulf states Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas can opt-in if they like; the old GOP bill was opt-in everywhere, allowing Florida to block drilling in the Gulf off of its shores.

2. The bill also allows for seismic exploration along the entire continental shelf.

3. The ban on drilling within 50 miles of the coast was also in the GOP bill.

4. Contrary to many commentators’ claims, the “gang of ten” bill is not a lifeline for Obama: “What a bunch of C-R-A-P. ” (Yes, he spelled it out like that) “If Obama embraced this, he would be the biggest flipflopper ever.” A lot of the opposition to the bill is really a case of trying to keep drilling as an election issue instead of getting more drilling.

5. The bill includes a Zubrin-like flex-fuel provision, requiring that 75% of cars by 2015 and 85% by 2020 be capable of running on something besides gasoline.

6. “Our bill also opens up coal-to-liquids. We couldn’t have gotten 44 Republicans for that.”

7. The bill is “incredibly aggressive” on nuclear power, including accelerated-depreciation provisions like those for solar and wind power, more NRC resources to speed licensing, and an end to the Carter-era ban on nuclear fuel reprocessing. “We couldn’t have gotten 44 Republicans on this.”

8. The bill also promotes cellulosic ethanol.

I confess that I haven’t followed this as closely as I probably should have, but anyway, that’s the pro-bill side. He didn’t say this, but my guess is that if he’s calling bloggers, it probably means that he doesn’t think his side is getting a hearing in the traditional media, or in the talk-radio part of alternative media.

UPDATE: Here’s their statement.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ace comments: “Worth reading, but the Gang of Ten compromise keeps all Pacific drilling off-the-table, and as I understand the matter, not only is that a lot of oil, but it could begin producing oil within the year. . . . Corker may think he’s gotten a lot in exchange for this enormous compromise, but I think he’s given away far too much. It’s bad enough that the huge reserves of ANWR remain off the table; now we’re going to permanently declare most of the Pacific off-limits as well?

Ace’s point about the ANWR and the Pacific are important, but forget about ANWR for now, and focus on the fact that this sellout deal would make the Pacific off-limits. But that’s precisely where we need to start!

John Hinderaker at powerline has this piece, Where to Drill First:

Those who favor outsourcing our energy production generally argue that there is no point in opening up domestic drilling, since it would take many years before oil actually begins to flow. In some cases, it will indeed take a considerable time, although this problem is mostly self-inflicted: the delay will result more from regulatory hurdles and litigation than from the time it takes to build platforms, pipelines, and so on.

But there are areas where, if Congress acts to remove existing bans on drilling, oil could be flowing in a matter of months, not years. Foremost on this list is oil off the coast of California. We asked Dan Kish, Senior Vice President, Policy, at the Institute for Energy Research to comment. This is what he told us:

For oil, California is the quickest relief. Existing platforms there would allow access to some of the leases companies paid $1.1 billion for in 1981, but have been precluded from developing for 26 years. California is the nation’s largest consumer of gasoline, so it could go directly to their extensive refinery network, also. The estimates are that 10 billion barrels exist off the coast of California, and tankers full of imported oil and Alaska North Slope oil go through those protected waters every day.

Santa Barbara is also home to one of the largest oil seep trends ever observed, and in one small area 100 bbls per day seep to the surface, except around an existing producing platform that releases the pressure causing the seeps. 100% of the oil on the beaches in Santa Barbara county, and 50% of the oil on the beaches of LA County are caused by Santa Barbara’s seeps. The local group Stop Oil Seeps advocates drilling there to improve the environment.

Off California, oil could be flowing in less than a year. For us to send hundreds of billions of dollars overseas, so that Venezuelans, Nigerians, Russians, Saudis, Canadians and Mexicans can do the high-paying jobs that hundreds of thousands of Americans would be delighted to do, is insane.

Are we supposed to consider it a good deal to trade California’s readily-accessible oil for “cellulosic ethanol”?

Still not convinced? Consider that even Obama supporters know that the Gang of 10 could help him tremendously. Writing at the Corner, Ramesh Ponnuru notes that Obama supporter Nate Silver thinks the Gang of 10 is winning deal for the Dali Bama. How Not to Beat McCain:

Nate Silver is worried about McCain’s advantage over Obama on gas prices. He recommends that Obama push hard for the Gang of 10 compromise and talk up other economic issues

Sorry, Gang. It’s a lousy deal.

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