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On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of members of FreedomWorks nationwide, I urge you to vote “No” on H.R. 6515, the Drill Responsibly on Leased Lands Act of 2008, a bill that would: generate unnecessary federal intervention in the Alaskan oil and natural gas pipelines; impose “use it or lose it” lease restrictions on energy companies exploring for oil and natural gas; and restrict Alaskan oil exportation. H.R. 6515 impedes the efficient expansion of the nation’s energy resources, and would prove harmful to consumers.
The provisions of this legislation directing the federal government to restrict Alaskan oil exports do little to improve the welfare of American consumers in a global energy market and unnecessarily interfere with construction of the Alaskan oil and natural gas pipeline. Alaskan crude oil has not been exported since 2004 and work on the pipeline is well underway as properly dictated by market forces, not government mandates.
Perhaps more disturbing, is the “use it or lose it” section of the bill, which would place new restrictions on oil leases on federal lands. This concept stems from the misunderstanding that simply because oil is not flowing from areas currently under lease, leaseholders are not actively developing and exploring for petroleum and natural gas. A lease on the land is not a guarantee that petroleum is there. It does not mean that petroleum can be extracted. And it does not mean that the companies have received the necessary permits—not just from the federal government, but from state governments as well–to go forward with studies and exploration. Current law already requires oil companies to have a producing well within 10 years or surrender the lease.
In sum, the proposed package of legislation amounts to government mandates rather than a real solution. A better approach would be to expand exploration: open up the Outer Continental Shelf, streamline permit processes, and create new opportunities to bring affordable energy to Americans.
We will count your vote on H.R. 6515 as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Scorecard for 2008. The FreedomWorks Economic Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.