House Republican: Cut deficit by drilling in ANWR

The congressional super committee searching for ways to pare at least $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit should open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling instead of hiking taxes, a top House Republican said today.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., the head of the House Natural Resources Committee, said he would be making that controversial ANWR drilling recommendation to the 12-member panel, which is holding its first public meeting tomorrow.

Under Congress’ debt ceiling deal, the newly created deficit reduction committee has until Nov. 23 to approve a plan to cut $1.2 trillion or more from the deficit over the next decade, with the group’s final package subject to straight up-or-down votes in the House and Senate. If the committee fails to reach a compromise or it doesn’t pass Congress, there would be automatic, across-the-board cuts in domestic and defense spending beginning in 2013.

Since Republicans on the panel and in the House are unlikely to support any plan that hikes taxes as a way to raise revenue, the lawmakers on the joint committee need to search for other solutions, Hastings noted.

“They need to find a means to increase revenue to the federal government without raising taxes (and) this is a logical extension of that,” Hastings said. “Increasing American energy production is one of the easiest ways to generate federal revenue” and opening up ANWR “makes good economic sense.”

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil harbored in the refuge’s coastal plain — which, at peak production, could supply the U.S. with up to 1.45 million barrels of oil daily. Hastings said that over the life of production in the refuge, that could generate $150 billion to $296 billion in royalties to the federal government. And that could translate to several billions of dollars in new revenue over the next 10 years — the time frame on which the deficit-cutting committee is focusing.

But opening up ANWR is a political hot potato even in an ordinary year, and the 2012 presidential campaign is already in full swing. Hastings’ idea is unlikely to gain much traction with the six Democratic members on the joint deficit-cutting committee, including Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who has been a vocal critic of allowing drilling in the region.

Environmentalists say the potential oil gains from drilling in ANWR would be small and aren’t worth the risks of damage to wildlife and habitat.

Hastings insisted his ANWR idea isn’t far-fetched and stressed that there may be a chance to build new support for the idea by capitalizing on recently high oil prices and motorists’ anger over costs at the pump.

“Maybe with the price of oil and where it is, the price of gasoline and where it is, … some of these members will have an epiphany,” Hastings said.

Hastings will suggest expanded domestic drilling in his House Natural Resources Committee’s formal recommendations to the deficit-cutting panel next month. Hastings did not rule out using more informal tactics — including one-on-one conversations with super committee members — to advance his ideas.

“This is a work in progress,” Hastings said. “I’ll be doing whatever i can to advance what i think is important.”

Hastings could be floating the ANWR idea as way to steer the panel toward some middle ground, including possibly broadening oil and gas drilling opportunities in other areas, including the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

A statutory ban bars drilling in the eastern Gulf through 2022, unless Congress changes the law. The Obama administration also has said it is not planning on offering any new drilling leases in the Pacific or Atlantic oceans from 2012 through 2017, the next five-year leasing period for the outer continental shelf. Still, lawmakers could force the issue.

Oil and gas industry leaders generally supported Hastings’ plan.

“We have vast portions of this country — federal acreage — that is off limits to development, whether it’s ANWR or the OCS, or certain areas of the lower 48,” said Chevron CEO John Watson. “I think it’s important that all these areas be made available over time for energy development.”

Since other areas could provide similar revenue dollars to the federal government even if ANWR remains off limits energy policy should be part of the super committee’s deficit-cutting work, Watson added.

“There is an opportunity for our industry to contribute both jobs and to deficit reduction through the activity that our industry conducts,” Watson said. “So I hope that energy policy will be considered (by the panel).”

American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said even modest steps to expand domestic drilling could help trim the deficit while bolstering the U.S. economy. API unveiled a study Wednesday that touted the benefits of new drilling in ANWR, currently off-limits of the outer continental shelf and other regions.

“Even some portion of that could make a significant contribution to our debt issues, job creation matters and energy security,” Gerard said.

Drilling advocates last prevailed in advancing an ANWR drilling plan through the Senate in 2005, when the chamber voted narrowly to add the proposal to an unrelated budget bill. But the drilling provisions ultimately were stripped out of the measure, after House Republican leaders encountered resistance from more than two dozen moderates in their party.

In recent years, ANWR drilling advocates have tried new tactics to make the idea more attractive. A recent gambit by Alaska’s senators — Republican Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Mark Begich — would have allowed oil companies to use horizontal drilling techniques to explore the refuge’s reserves as long as their footprint was not within the federally protected area.

7 Comments

  1. Jackalope

    Opening ANWR would be about the equivalent of a postage stamp on a baseball diamond. But mention the words “Arctic National Wildlife Refuge” and the roadblocks begin.

    #1
  2. Ser182

    Again this would do nothing to feed our need for oil. We pump everything we have and it still will not put a dent into what we import. What it will do line the pockets of these Repubs and oil companies.
    You want to the deficit. Try taxing all imports from china,India and Japan just like they do our products. Tax big companies that receive tax benefits but still move jobs over seas. That’s what needs to be done.

    #2
  3. WriterDude

    Are all republican politicians in the pocket of Big Oil?? Sure seems like it!!

    #3
  4. Karl

    Pumping more of our own oil means; more people go to work in the oil fields and anciliary business, more tax dollars are collected from the oil and gas AND the ancilary businesses, more profit dollars are earned in America (and are spent in America), lower downstream prices mean individuals have more money to spend.
    Need evidence of this simply look to the economic boom in North Dakota and south Texas. We need to do whatever we can to improve the econonomy of this country, and more drilling makes sense.

    #4
  5. Karl

    WriterDude seems to think all Republicans are in the pocket of big oil. Probably not. But many Democrats are definately on the receiving end of oil company money. Your hero Harry Reid collected $113,000 from big oil last year. Blanche Lincoln, Democratic Senator from our neighbors to the north, Arkansas, got almost a half million. But of course that money had nothing to do with how they voted in regards to oil company legislation, did it?

    #5
  6. Rider I

    How the US has historically used mineral rushes to get it out of Deficits and stop foreign economic take over.

    In the US’s historical past the Druids have used and impressed upon the US leadership to use mineral resources to stop economic warfare, along with military take over. Some simple examples of the economic warfare strategy of mineral rushes to spread the US out and create US wealth to get us out of a Deficit situation are Fort Sumter. Where a long time Druid camp had made noticeable their secret chambers ability to gain wealth from the area via mass pys do name cognition. Alaska was before or after Fort Sumter but was done by the US government the same way to help US citizens create tons and spread out the wealth in the US. Along with get us out of a deficit during that time. The reason for both of these was because Russia at the time was planning to invade the Area’s and take them from US. In which we had to do something to stop them from doing that. Along with that during the Cold War the US used production mineral rushes to keep our production and manufacturing here in the US. Which allowed companies to have down the road access to minerals which was much cheaper than the Soviet Empire almost monopoly on the worlds resources.

    Today we see a similar problem. The Communist Chinese MSS have used their militarized economy. Where they do such military things as fund terrorist and genocidal dictators to get cheap resources to keep their economy at the top of the surplus and everyone else who will not do such military acts as funding the atrocities do not get to compete internationally with very noncompetitive prices. We have seen many companies complain in the US how they can;’t get access to resources in the US for a competitive overhead. Nor can they get them from US private enterprises. So they just off shore to Communist China. Which I have cited on this website many articles that state that is what the SASAC wished to do. Which was create a resource monopoly bind so everyone had to just offshore to their country. Leaving the world without jobs and the Communist Chinese with the monopoly on rare earth resources.

    Along those lines, we have seen the militarized economy of the Communist Chinese use their MSS agents at a mass quantity to constantly use lobbying and IP espionage activities. So the US believes it is a good idea to allow them to take our resource national security issues from us. Even though they have been known to cheat, kill and bribe to maintain a monopoly for theirs. Therefore, we can see how the Russian’s who I do not have access to their activities at that time can be analogized to the Communist Chinese. As they both had a similar idea of using the mass to enslave to a single party then use very noncompetitive non individual liberty prices to take the US’s business from them so as to weaken our economy and force closure of bases, along with intelligence agencies and create a necessary need to allow the Communist Single Fascist party to come in and control the US’s economy via their resource monopoly.

    As such, as we have done historically the way out of the deficit and the way to stay competitive in the world market is to start a resource rush. However, unlike gold which is not as expensive as some rare earth resources. We need to create a resource supply that is not necessarily gold but a gold mine. Like we did during Fort Sumter, Alaska and various areas during the cold war. This then could be done via a simple strategy. The strategy could be to allow three mine permits per state. Which could be for rare earth resources. These mines could be smaller mines around a quarter mile each and producing around 66 million a mine. Therefore, we would see a major influx of US jobs and economy as the US companies ownership of mines should that we have minerals for companies to create good paying jobs. Thus then allowing for a proper root style economic rebuild naturally through economics instead of forced through a stimulus. That will just fall through as our high number of business keep defecting each year to Communist China’s resource monopoly.

    Rider I
    http://rideriantieconomicwarfaretrisiii.blogspot.com/

    Competition builds more markets while monopolization destroy’s markets. Rider I 2011

    /ii\

    I think the Constant violation of the Communist Party of China deserves sanctions for arming Qaddafi when fighting against UN troops as:
    US seeks more from China on Libya arms

    I believe there is a Communist Secretary in every business and entity in Communist China. “The United States indicated Wednesday it is not satisfied with China’s explanation of a meeting in July between Chinese weapons makers and representatives of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi seeking to buy arms in violation of U.N. sanctions.” Let’s see the Communist Party violates UN treaties with regards to Iran, North Korea, Al Queada, Hamas, then specifically sell’s weapons via a Party secretary entity of the Communist Party which is in every SOE watching over them and speaking to the party on first hand of business. Along with allowing nuclear material in areas of how terrorism like Pakistan and Iran. I think we should sanction them. Along with that they violate UN treaties with regards to funding and protecting genocidal dictators. The worst part is they just do it to get cheap resource contracts that nobody else can get. Along with that they sent a Communist disciplinary member to meet with Poland instead of a Diplomat, which the German Socialist Party did and So did the Soviet Empire.

    /ii\

    #6
  7. Mike H.

    I think we should look at drilling in part of the Refuge, but I also remember the Overthrust Belt hype in the early 1980′s, where there was not as much O&G as some claimed.

    #7