Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It was a drumbeat we heard during much of the 2008 election. And ignored. It is a drumbeat we need to take back up as a nation.
With gas prices hovering near or just over three-dollars a gallon, it is time to simplify the refining of oil and drill for more of it - NOW. There are large and known deposits of "black gold" off the coasts of Florida and California, enough to meet the energy needs of this nation for a decade or longer; a decade that would give us needed time to sharply cut oil imports and ease into renewable energy that is both practical and cost efficient.
Although it is being largely ignored by the media, committees in both the House and Senate are finally discussing drilling. Perhaps the distant footsteps of economically challenged and increasingly frustrated voters are beginning to be heard in the hallowed halls of Congress as 2010 looms.
But, as always, with its usual vapid approach to critical issues, committee members do not see fit to share oil revenues with either California or Florida; two states hardest hit by the current economic crisis. Sharing oil revenues could enervate not only approval to drill, but an economic recovery, especially in California. It is estimated the drilling and refining of oil found off the California coast would create nearly 100,000 new jobs - higher paying jobs - union jobs in some cases - and provide enough money within four years to more than offset California's current 24.3-billion dollar deficit that threatens to plunge the state's economy into bankruptcy.
It does not take a Harvard business degree to see the value of filling the nation's energy needs with domestic oil in the short term. We could sharply curtail importing oil from areas of the world that like us the least, a move sure to stregthen the American dollar and our national security. And the value of sharing the proceeds from oil drilling with the citizens of California and Florida would ease their tax bite.
Although much smaller, Alaska cuts a sizable check annually to each of its 686,000-plus residents from that state's share of oil revenues. Anwr holds the promise of increasing the size of those annual checks considerably. Where is the envy Californians and Floridians!
Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, in an interview on Fox News, champions a new initiative to drill, drill, drill. And she is a Democrat. Landrieu expressed some hope the Obama White House could be persuaded. Good luck, Madame Senator.
Are you hearing the drumbeat Senators Bayh and Lugar? Probably not. A malleable Congress continues to turn a deaf ear to the drumbeat. But the whispers of discontent will soon swell to shouts as pump prices rise. Perhaps then, members of Congress will turn up their Miracle Ears.

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