"The U.S. has an energy crisis on its hands. It's disappointing that Big Oil is dictating the GOP leadership's response in the face of this crisis. It's stunning that rather than putting consumers first, the response from the industry's allies in Congress is to pursue the same tired policies that have lucratively served the oil industry while running up gas prices.
"The energy crisis is profoundly painful, but it is also an opportunity. We have an opportunity to truly get off of oil and reinvent our economy with clean renewables that will end our addiction, clean up our skies, create jobs and solve global warming."
Audubon believes today's announcement is emblematic of the oil industry's strategy to leverage high gas prices to gain ever more drilling rights. This bill introduced by some of the industry's chief allies in Congress comes just days before second quarter profits are announced by the industry. The heart of the GOP bill calls for expanded drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Millions of acres have been made available already for oil development by the Bush administration in recent years, and that activity has only padded industry profits as gasoline prices have doubled for consumers. Audubon is recommending policies that lessen the nation's addiction to dirty fossil fuels, such as rapid expansion of renewable energy development in areas like wind and solar.
Recent studies by the Bush Administration's own Energy Information Administration (EIA) have shown that expanded drilling offshore and in the Arctic Refuge would have little impact on supply before 2030 and an "insignificant" impact on prices at the pump. For example, in a May 2008 study, "Analysis of Crude Oil Production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," the EIA found that if Congress authorized drilling this year, no oil would be available before 2018. What's more, the price impact translates to just a penny or two at the gas pump. As the study concludes, Arctic Refuge "oil production is not projected to have a large impact on world oil prices." The report also notes that even this extremely minor price impact could be neutralized by OPEC reducing its oil exports by an equal amount.