Drilling Ban to Expire!!!

This just in — federal lawmakers are going to let the drilling ban expire at month’s end!

According to this report:

Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week, conceding defeat in a month-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer.

Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., told reporters Tuesday that a provision continuing the moratorium will be dropped this year from a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running after Congress recesses for the election.

Republicans have made lifting the ban a key campaign after gasoline prices spiked this summer and public opinion turned in favor of more drilling. President Bush lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling in July.

“If true, this capitulation by Democrats following months of Republican pressure is a big victory for Americans struggling with record gasoline prices,” said House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio.

Wow.

Lawmakers long owned by the environmentalist lobby finally blinked.

But this doesn’t mean the issue is finally resolved. The article continues:

Democrats are expected to press for broader energy legislation, probably next year, that would put limits on any drilling off most of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Republicans, meanwhile, are likely to fight any resumption of the drilling bans that have been in place since 1981.

“The future resolution of offshore drilling will have to be addressed with a new president,” Drew Hamill, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

Environmentalists are going to say the world is ending. They hate it when people can afford gasoline.

Danny Smith made this point when he wrote about the battle over drilling in the current issue of Organization Trends. The top paragraphs from his article provide an excellent overview of greens’ energy-hating views. Here they are:

Today’s green activists take their cues from professional pessimists like Paul Ehrlich. He’s the Stanford University professor who famously –and incorrectly— predicted in The Population Bomb (1968) that rising population levels would cause the collapse of civilization by 1990. The left’s environmental soothsayer argued in 1978 that increasing energy production would have catastrophic consequences for the planet. “Giving society cheap, abundant energy…would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun,” wrote the guru whom Al Gore has hailed as a visionary.

Ehrlich, like Gore, has long supported taxing energy to discourage its use, and his inheritors in today’s environmentalist community are optimistic that soaring oil and gasoline prices could help make their utopian vision of society a reality. “High prices have been the prod that the left has favored to persuade Americans to abandon their SUVs and minivans, use mass transit, turn the thermostat down, produce less consumer goods and services, and stop emitting those satanic greenhouse gases,” the Wall Street Journal opined in 2006.

Cheap fuel is “folly,” part of a “gusher mentality [that] deforms our society and economy,” according to Carl Pope, the longtime Sierra Club executive director. Inexpensive energy is positively un-American, Pope argues:

“It leads the United States to sabotage international efforts to combat global warming, tolerate a huge trade deficit that has destroyed millions of manufacturing jobs, and keep military bases in the Middle East, where they serve as rallying points for terrorists. And it’s why the U.S. auto industry continues to promote size and performance over safety and efficiency.”

Pope concludes Americans are “better off without cheap gas.” (Sierra Magazine, March/April 2006)

Last March Earth Policy Institute president Lester Brown said he wants gasoline prices to go even higher. The liberal think tank supports imposing a $3 per gallon tax incrementally over 10 years. “A tax on gas is a way to reduce dependence on import[ed] oil, reduce traffic congestion and reduce carbon emissions,” Brown said.

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