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You Have to Pay So You Can’t Do What You Want

February 16, 2011

Anyone still convinced that this administration isn’t doing pretty much everything it can to prevent oil exploration and harvesting in the US?  Here’s the latest gem, courtesy of Hot Air.  Here’s the scoop from The Hill.  Guess what was in the proposed budget plan that came out this week?

The plan unveiled Monday includes “user fees to oil companies for processing oil and gas drilling permits and inspecting operations on Federal lands and waters.” It also seeks changes to royalty rates and “establishing fees for new non-producing oil and gas leases (both onshore and offshore) to encourage more timely production.”The Interior budget plan calls for beefing up the agency’s ability to regulate drillers, while extending an olive branch by noting that “these reforms will also facilitate the timely review of offshore oil and gas permits.”

As Ed Morrissey so nicely puts it:

So the federal government is not issuing any new permits to speak of. But if you have an oil lease that you’re not producing on – because you don’t have a permit – we’re going to impose new fees to pay for the EPA to investigate whether or not you should get a permit. This is an olive branch to our energy companies? Perhaps if you fashioned the branch into a club.“Say… nice oil rig ya got there. Be a real shame if anything happened to it.”

Um, yea.  So all those drilling platforms that are headed out to Egypt, The Gulf, Indonesia… they’re going to keep on tuggin’.  And don’t forget that we’re also proposing to eliminate tax breaks for the oil companies.  So it’s more expensive to operate here, it’s more expensive to permit here, and you can’t have the permits even though you have to pay anyway.  Other than that, this is a solid plan.

It’s very clear that we have no issues with energy coming from other countries.  We’ll pay as much as they want to charge, and we look the other way when the relaxed environmental rules cause issues in their back yards… hey it’s their problem, not ours.  Meanwhile, we wonder why they dislike us, and why they seem to have so much money to fight us, when we’re giving them both reason and funding.

At this point, we just have to assume that we’re going to have significantly higher energy costs in the coming years.  So the recovery we’re hoping to see will be slowed by the costs of actually recovering.  Too bad we can’t just truck all our jobs offshore, oh wait…

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