Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio today went on the offensive against U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican who has sponsored a bill being debated on the House floor that would remove regulatory hurdles for companies engaged in offshore drilling in Alaska.Even FOX News questioned why the freshman congressman from northern Colorado is so concerned with the state of oil and gas production in Alaska (see video), where his Jobs and Energy Permitting Act (H.R. 2021) would “streamline energy permitting in the Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).”
“Congressman Gardner continues to live in the pocket of D.C. insiders, and doing their legwork today on the House floor is no exception,” Palacio said in a release. “He pulled his support for a natural gas tax credit bill thanks to pressure from Washington lobbyists, and now he’s pushing a bill to make life easier for big oil companies. It’s hard to imagine things getting any cushier for companies making tens of billions in profits, but Rep. Gardner has found a way.”
Palacio goes on to point out the fallacy of Gardner’s insistence that making it easier to drill off the coast of Alaska will somehow lower gas prices at the pump today – a dubious argument given the amount of time it would take to get any new leases into production. Palacio also pointed to a U.S. Interior Department analysis showing nearly 70 percent of the offshore acreage currently under lease for oil and gas production is not being utilized.
Speaking on FOX, Gardner said even the promise of more domestic production will have the effect of lowering prices at the pump. Linked to a British Petroleum lobbyist during his campaign at the height of BP’s Deepwater Horizon crisis last year, Gardner sidestepped questions about environmental concerns.
“This bill has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs annually, $100 billion in payroll over the next 50 years, and 1 million of barrels of oil per day,” Gardner said in a release when H.R. 2021 passed by a 34-14 vote in the Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this month. “That is the equivalent of 10 percent of the foreign oil we use, which would reduce our dependence significantly.”