With gas at nearly $4.00 a gallon, Senator Mary Landrieu voted against shale oil – not on principle, which I would disagree with but at least respect, but as a favor to another Senator. Not to put too fine a point on it, you can take “collegiality” and stick it where the sun don’t shine, Senator. You’re in office to do what’s best for your constituents, not what’s best for your buddies in the Senate.
Last month, the U.S. Senate’s Appropriations Committee voted 15-14 to kill a bill that would have ended a one-year moratorium on enacting rules for oil shale development on federal lands (which is where the best oil shale is located). Most maddening of all – at least to someone like myself not steeped in the wacky ways of Washington – the swing vote on the appropriations committee, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., voted with the majority even though she actually opposes the moratorium.
“Sen. Salazar asked me to vote no. I did so at his request,” Landrieu told The Rocky Mountain News. A Landrieu staffer contacted by Fortune doesn’t dispute this, but notes that Landrieu did propose a compromise which Republicans rejected.
She was speaking of U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., who has emerged as the Senate’s leading oil shale opponent. Salazar inserted the aforementioned moratorium into an omnibus spending bill last December, and in May he proposed a new bill that would extend the moratorium another year.
Salazar’s efforts have essentially pulled the rug out from under Shell (RDSA) and other oil companies which have invested many, many millions into oil shale research since the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which established the original framework for commercial leasing of oil shale lands. (Last year, oil shale represented Shell’s single biggest R&D expenditure.)
We don’t need a compromise. We need to start getting that oil, NOW. And to add insult to injury, Salazar’s arguments about environmental impact are pretty specious, for example:
Sen. Hatch: Let’s compare it to ethanol. Corn needs about 1,000 barrels of water for the energy equivalent of a barrel of oil. That’s a crazy amount of water, but it’s worked out alright so far because corn is grown in rainy areas, for the most part. But if you want to increase the amount of ethanol, you’re going to have to go to irrigation, and then there will be major water limits on how much we can afford to grow.
On the other hand, the Department of Energy estimates that oil shale will require three barrels of water for every barrel of oil.
Fortune: Of course, water is a lot scarcer in western Colorado than it is in Iowa.
Sen Hatch: It is, but remember the oil companies are going to use and recycle the water. And while we’re on the environmental impact, let’s talk about land use and wildlife habitat. One acre of corn produces the equivalent of 5 to 7 barrels of oil. One acre of oil shale produces 100,000 to 1 million barrels.
Senator Hatch said, “People are going to go berserk when they find out that all along we had the capacity, within our own borders, to alleviate our [foreign oil] dependency in an environmentally friendly way.” Indeed.
Hot Air has a poll to vote on what you think Congress should do about these gas prices. Please email Senator Landrieu to express your displeasure; it appears she’ll accept emails from everyone, not just Louisiana residents. I just sent this message:
have you entirely lost your mind?! You voted against shale oil, not on principle, which I could at least respect although I profoundly disagree, but AS A FAVOR to Senator Salazar?!
I am amazed, offended, and furious that you put your constituents needs, who are paying exorbitant gas prices primarily due to Congress’ obstruction of oil companies to get to our own petroleum (while threatening to nationalize them a la Hugo Chavez; see how well that’s working for Venezuela!), behind the desires of a Senator in Colorado.
When I have to pay nearly $50 to fill up the tank of my Saturn, when China is drilling off our coasts but we’re not allowed to, and when we’re sitting on plenty of our own oil while paying terror supporting Wahhabists top dollar for theirs, then it’s time for a change.
I hope that you will be part of that change, but this vote was a total disgrace, and you owe your constituents an apology.
Furious and very disappointed,
If you email the Senator, feel free to post it in the comments; I’d love to see other’s reactions to this outrage.
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