Drill Now or Impeach Now?
A diary on Daily Kos by Meteor Blades discusses the Energy Plans to be considered by Congress in the coming days. A key piece of of information:
An unknown number of Republicans don't think even the House compromise package goes far enough on drilling. They would prefer to let the 27-year-old moratorium on most off-shore drilling expire on September 30. If it does, oil and gas drilling could theoretically occur as close as three miles off shore anywhere companies are willing to bid on a federal lease.
There is infinite opportunity for theater here where no resolution gives the Big Oil servants in Congress everything they want - an end to the off-shore drilling moratorium and no requirement to invest new federal oil revenue into renewable energy.
As soon as it becomes clear that this is their goal and the faux drama of the "Rebel Congress" seeking votes on energy plans hits peak pitch, maybe we should change the subject and quickly impeach somebody.
If you missed it, here is a fragment from the Washington Post article on the sex and drugs scandal in George W. Bush's Department of the Interior:
The report from Inspector General Earl E. Devaney contains fresh allegations about the practices at the beleaguered royalty-in-kind program of Interior's Minerals Management Service, which last year collected more than $4 billion worth of oil and natural gas from companies given contracts to tap energy on federal and Indian lands and offshore. The revelations come as Congress is set to consider opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and areas off the coast of Florida for drilling.
The royalty-in-kind program, based near Denver, allows energy companies to pay the government in oil and gas, rather than cash, for the privilege of drilling on government land. It has been the subject of multiple investigations since 2006 by the Interior Department's secretary, its inspector general, the Justice Department and Congress for alleged mismanagement and conflicts of interest.
In the report released yesterday, investigators said they "discovered a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity" in which employees accepted gratuities "with prodigious frequency." The report cited one e-mail from a Shell Pipeline representative asking a woman in the royalty office to attend "tailgating festivities" at a Houston Texans football game: "You're invited . . . have you and the girls meet at my place at 6am for bubble baths and final prep. Just kidding."
Besides Shell, the energy company employees mentioned in the report worked for Chevron, Hess and Gary-Williams Energy. The social outings detailed in the report included alcohol-, cocaine- and marijuana-filled parties where certain employees of the Minerals Management Service were nicknamed the "MMS Chicks" by the energy employees. The companies paid for federal workers to attend football and baseball games, PGA Tour events, Colorado ski trips, paintball outings and "treasure hunts," investigators found.
Democrats who have opposed expanded drilling seized on the report as fodder for the debate. "This all shows the oil industry holds shocking sway over the administration and even key federal employees," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who supports more exploration offshore but not in Alaska. "This is why we must not allow Big Oil's agenda to be jammed through Congress."
We need to conserve energy, not expand drilling and deepen our dependence on petroleum. We also need an impeachment inquiry!
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