Saturday, June 28, 2008

H.R. 6251: Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act Fails House

On Jun 26, 2008, H.R. 6251 (Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act) failed in the House of Representatives by roll call vote. The vote was held under a suspension of the rules to cut debate short and pass the bill. Thus, it needed a two-thirds majority. The totals were 223 Ayes, 195 Nays, 16 Present/Not Voting. Dean Heller (R) and Jon Porter (R) voted 'Nay' along the Grand OIL Party line, Shelley Berkley (D) voted 'Aye.' I specifically wrote Heller about this bill asking him to vote 'Aye.' I haven't gotten Heller's reply yet, but like responses I receive from Ensign, I'm sure Heller will feign concern for our welfare and suffering at the pumps and claim that this bill would have been bad for our economy in some way, shape or form.

H.R. 6251 would have prohibited the Secretary of the Interior from authorizing any new lease for exploration or production of oil or natural gas unless the lessee:

  1. Certified for each existing lease that the lessee has diligently developed the lands in order to produce oil or natural gas, or is producing oil or natural gas from such lands; or
  2. Has relinquished all federal oil and gas leases that are not being diligently developed.
H.R. 6251 would have instructed the Secretary to promulgate diligent development regulations that:

  1. Included benchmarks for oil and gas development to ensure that leaseholders produce oil and gas from each lease within the five-year original term of the lease; and
  2. Required each leaseholder to submit a diligent development plan showing how the lessee will meet the benchmarks.
H.R. 6251 also would have established a civil penalty for noncompliance with this Act.

H.R. 6251 would have set up regulations for Big Oil companies similar to those that have been imposed on Coal companies for decades. Under H.R. 6251, they would have to 'use it or lose it,' but the Grand Oil Party protected their pals. I guess it goes to show that the Republicans know where their bread is buttered ... or said another way ... I guess they didn't want to offend their cash cow during an election year.

I specifically wrote to Heller asking him to support H.R. 6251, but his allegiance appears to be with the Grand OIL Party and their big Oil contributors, not the voters who are not only suffering at the pump, but in the grocery line as well. With H.R. 6251 out of the way, they're now free to open up more leases for the big Oil Companies to gobble up and stash away along side their already-amassed 68 million acres that they're doing nothing with. If the Big Oil Companies wanted to drill, they could drill on the leases they're already holding, but they don't. They just want to gouge us for unrealistic profits. They can claim all day long that they're 'reinvesting' them, but I don't buy it. If they were reinvesting, they would have 'expenses' associated with that 'reinvestment.' Thus, those monies would have been spent and wouldn't show up as a 'profit' on their books. So, in my eyes, they're not reinvesting in infrastructure to drill or refine oil, or anything else for that matter.

This is yet another disappointing vote by our GOP members in Congress that is clearly opposed to the interests of their Nevada constituency. So here's my personal solution: Heller can have my 'NAY' vote in November when I vote for his replacement.

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