Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Same Old Drill

You can say this much for the Bush Administration: they stick to their principles. Less politely, they stay bought.

In another attempt at something that has been repeatedly rejected:

The Bush administration proposed on Monday leasing out millions of acres along the coasts of Alaska and Virginia to oil and gas drillers, a move that would end a longstanding ban on drilling in those environmentally sensitive areas.

I can hear the spin now: "It's not ANWAR! This is different! It's offshore!"

Of course there are environmental concerns, and of course, there are irritations at what will probably be another sweetheart deal for Big Oil:

If the administration does lease out areas in Alaska, companies may be entitled to a special reprieve from paying royalties to the government.

And, surprise, surprise, there's really not that much to be had. The Interior Department, which you have to figure is being as optimistic as it can get away with, estimates the total reserves as:

… equal to about 16 months of the United States' current oil consumption and about two years of its current consumption of natural gas.

According to the article quoted for this post, Congress has 60 days to object, or else the plan goes into effect. Probably worth making a phone call or two, don't you think?