By WILLIAM MAYER
May 21, 2008 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - In just concluded testimony before the Senate's Judiciary Committee, outgoing Shell Oil Company President John Hofmeister delivered a withering indictment against onerous government regulation - inspired by a radical green agenda - of domestic and offshore oil exploration.
Hofmeister placed the blame for high energy prices and dependence on foreign imports squarely where it belongs, on the backs of legislators stating, "U.S. production has fallen steadily for the last 35 years. Oil production in this country peaked in the 1970s. As U.S. consumption of oil has doubled, domestic oil production has fallen off nearly 40 percent. Why? In large part, this is the result of government policies that placed important oil and gas resources off limits..."
Hofmeister?s testimony is a breath of fresh air, in an election year when all the major candidates have cozied up to the radical environmentalists whose feigned conservation masks an anti-progress, anti-capitalist agenda.
Below an extended excerpt from Mr. Hofmeister?s statement:
"We still have a significant resource base in this country, both offshore andonshore. The U.S. Government estimates that there are about 300 trillioncubic feet of natural gas and more than 50 billion barrels of oil yet to bediscovered on the Outer Continental Shelf surrounding the Lower 48. Whenyou then add in the Alaska OCS resource, you add the potential for another122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 25 billion barrels of oil.
Unfortunately, 85 percent of the Lower 48 resource base is off-limitsbecause of Congressional moratoria.
The U.S. has enormous oil shale resources, too, that, when the technology to extract it is mature, may provide a very significant boost to domestic energy supply. According to Rand Corporation, the oil resource in place within the Green River Formation, which covers portions of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, ranges from 1.5 to 1.8 trillion barrels, of which between 500billion and 1.1 trillion barrels are recoverable. According to Rand, ?themidpoint in our estimate range, 800 billion barrels, is more than triple theproven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia." The U.S. has more oil locked in shalethan any other country on Earth but impediments exist to accessing anddeveloping this resource.
For the past 30 years, federal policies have restricted the availability ofdomestic oil and gas resources to U.S. consumers. Such as:
Outer Continental Shelf Moratorium Atlantic Ocean Outer Continental Shelf Moratorium Pacific Ocean Outer Continental Shelf Moratorium Eastern Gulf of Mexico Congressional bans on onshore oil and gas activities in specific areasof the Rockies and Alaska And even a Congressional ban on doing an analysis of the resourcepotential for oil and gas in the Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf ofMexico
According to the Department of the Interior, 62 percent of all onshorefederal lands are off-limits to oil and gas development with restrictionsapplying to 92 percent of all federal lands.
The Argonne National Laboratory did a report in 2004 that identified 40specific federal policy areas that halt, limit, delay or restrict natural gasprojects. I urge you to review it ? it is a long list. If I may, I offer it today, ifyou would like to include it in the record.
Hundreds of lawsuits result in significant delays or eventually derail energyprojects. A 2004 report by the General Accounting Office identified 10opportunities during the leasing and permitting process where outside parties can sue to hold up or stop oil and gas projects on federal lands. And we are now seeing increased litigation on offshore activities as well. The combined weight of litigation and restrictive and uncertain policies is placing a heavy toll on America?s ability to produce its own energy resources..."
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