August 11, 2008

Fibs (lies?) aside, Ryan has a good idea on drilling for oil

It's a good day to be an alt media reporter. While The Journal Times reporter is sitting at her desk right now trying to figure out what to write about Rep. Paul Ryan's public forum at the Flat Iron Mall today, I can start my story, well ... like this.

First, let me say Ryan was flawless as ever. He had PowerPoint slides, Encyclopedic knowledge on everything and a good rapport with the crowd. There's a reason this guy's name is being slung around for vice president - he's really good at his job.

That said, there's not much to write about. Ryan laid out his support for lifting bans on drilling for oil in Alaska and along U.S. coasts. This will lead to immediate drops in gas prices, Ryan said, because the futures market will stabilize (basically, long-term investors will know more oil is on the way). And, it will lower prices in the future.

There's nothing particularly special about these positions. Ryan is walking in line with the Republican party by pushing for an increase in U.S. oil production.

Ryan was careful with his words. Unlike VP Dick Cheney, he didn't say China was drilling for oil off of Cuba (which is simply not true). Instead, Ryan said China was negotiating with Cuba to drill for oil off the U.S. coast. That may be true. China has rights to drill for oil on Cuba's mainland, and they may be talking about building oil platforms in Cuban waters 50 miles from Florida.

But he also claimed that opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would generate more oil per day than the U.S. imports from Saudi Arabia. Government estimates place the number way below that bold claim.

Ryan did note, however, that the government taxes domestic oil sales and could generate billions of dollars in revenue if it increased its production over the next 10 years. In turn, he wants to invest that money in job training and developing alternative energies. That's one of the best ideas I've heard from Ryan, who openly said the U.S.'s goal should be a fossil-fuel-free economy in his children's lifetime (they're 3, 5 and 6).

But then Ryan mentioned the "safety" of offshore drilling and claimed that oil rigs off the coast of New Orleans were untouched by Hurricane Katrina. That's simply a lie, and Ryan is too smart to know that's not a lie. To save a click on the link, Katrina destroyed 113 oil rigs, damaged 595 pipelines and spilled so much oil it could be seen from space. The GOP response is that that damage affected a small percentage of the 4,000 oil facilities around the Gulf and that none of the oil spills reached land - as if the environment stops at our nation's shores.

This energy stuff is important. McCain is battering Sen. Barack Obama on the presidential campaign trail with his pro-drilling stance - a stance shared by most Americans. It's turning into one of the signature issues of the presidential race, and Ryan did his part to reinforce the GOP's claims. They're persuasive in their arguments, which makes others silly. Of course there's a risk of drilling for oil in the middle of the ocean, so why try to sell everybody on the idea that's it's perfectly safe? I'd push the tax revenue idea and show how it could be used to train Americans and develop wind and solar energy, fuel cells, biofuels and the other emerging technologies that will get us out of this fossil-fuel mess.

Truthfully, it's a better idea than the elitist agenda of some environmentalists. Their strategy is push the price of oil up so high we're all forced to sell our cars and develop alternatives. That may sound like a good idea, but it's the poor and middle classes who will be screwed by that route. Let's hope the environmentalists comes up with some better ideas, and soon.


  1. Thank you for this story!

  2. Yes, indeed, a good story.
    How 'bout as good a story on Obama's economic proposals and how conterproductive they are.

  3. Its folly to think you can abandon one form of energy and jump into another without any kind of transitioning. And during that transition, efforts have to be made to keep the cost reasonable. The idea of price it so high that it will force us to change is nuts. We need to use our own resources during that transition period. And don't for get, oil just isn't used for energy. It is raw material for many products we use in everyday life. So when the price of a barrel oil goes up, it just doesn't bit you at the gas pump.

  4. To date, McCain is still opposed to ANWR drilling, so Ryan is not "walking in line" with him there. But McCain only reversed himself on offshore drilling at the end of June, so apparently he zigzags.

  5. Thanks, Mark ... I corrected the story. With all of these McCain energy ads floating around, I assumed he was in favor of drilling ANWR. Turns out McCain has a decent environmental record.

  6. I just ran across this interesting article "Drill Here, Drill Now," that delivered a number of interesting points about offshore drilling. One interesting fact is that 620,500 barrels of oil ooze organically from North America's ocean floors each year, compared to the average 6,555 barrels that oil companies have spilled annually since 1998. It's an interesting article and i suggest you read it.


    The CNN story about the PRC drilling off Cuba. I am sure they will be happy to take a call from the J-T lite about being wrong.
    Also I will post a link from the Cuban GOVERNMENT about the PRC drilling when that page gets back on line.


    Story on The PRC investment in Cuba to include oil.

  9. Ryan wants Big Oil to drill and build refineries on federal land. But if you buy into it, you also buy into sweeping deregulation, subsidies, tax credits and the forfeit of federal resources for the sake of windfall profits. After you stomach that, then Ryan proposes to either create a new tax or confiscate any royalties from sales and privatize those funds into Wall Street investment (alternative energy) firms.

    Ryan and the GOP run on profits and if our oil crisis is of national urgency and security (I believe it is) they should get serious and nationalize it instead of profitize it. Anybody with the assets America has would have went into business for themselves a long time ago.

  10. louis
    Ya just like Hugo Chavez

  11. StopthemadnessNOW8/13/2008 9:44 PM

    Good story and an interesting discussion. What bugs me about Ryan's alleged "community meeting" is that it was simply a backdrop to push his economic agenda and, by extension, that of his party.

    Now, that's all well and good. But, the demographic that lives in the Flat Iron Mall vicinity needs a lot more from its Congressman than a policy sales pitch. Flood cleanup and job training immediately come to mind. So does public transportation funding.

    If Rep. Ryan wants to sell this particular brand of soap, then let him buy an ad. I'm sure this website, as well as the ink-on-dead-trees media would be delighted to accommodate him. But, he's not doing anything for many of the poorest among his constituents with this little charade.