Commentary

printed 09/13/2019

No one should get too excited by this House of Representatives vote this week to pass the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act.

It’s chances of survival in the Senate are about as good as a manatee’s in Cape Cod Bay. Inevitably, a chilly reception awaits.

As was evidenced by Rep. Andy Harris’s vote against the measure, the GOP has plans for this act, and they don’t include seeing it pass in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The Republican strategy, judging from remarks by the opposition on the House floor Wednesday, is to argue that the act will put the country at the mercy of other oil-producing nations by removing the possibility of even testing for oil deposits offshore and that a ban will kill jobs.

That’s why Arizona Republican Congressman Paul Gosar tried (and failed) on Wednesday to have the measure renamed the “Russian Energy Reliance and U.S. Poverty Act.”

The name alone carries sufficient hot wind and/or cow pasture bio-solids to produce enough energy to keep the U.S. off the Russian oil dole for years to come. It also ignores the fact that the U.S., not Russia and not Saudi Arabia, is the world’s leading oil producer, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The U.S. produced 18 percent of the world’s crude oil in 2018, followed by Saudi Arabia with 12 percent, and the Russians, on whom we would supposedly be dependent, at 11 percent.

As for potential job loss, the number mentioned by the opposition Wednesday was in the one million range, even though that compares rather poorly to the millions of jobs and billions of dollars that would be lost were an oil-related coastal catastrophe to occur.

If the U.S. was running short on oil and if the economies of the East and West Coasts weren’t so valuable, the GOP argument would make some kind of sense.

As it is, it’s just pure intransigence and that, most likely, is what this act will encounter when it arrives in the Senate.

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