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FreedomWorks President and CEO Matt Kibbe made the following comments about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) attempt to slip an extension of the energy development ban past the American people while so many are focused on the proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout:
“Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid must think Americans can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, or at least that they can’t follow two important issues at once. How else can you explain his attempt to slip an extension of the ban on American energy advancement into another piece of legislation?”
Kibbe added: “It was just days ago that Congressional Democrats let the American people know they were going to join Congressional Republicans and let the ban expire. Grassroots Americans across the country cheered Congress for listening and accepting that a vast majority of Americans oppose this economically damaging and expensive ban.”
Kibbe continued: “It is estimated there are between 800 million and two trillion barrels of oil in America’s West that this ban well keep off limits. That’s three times the amount of proven oil reserves in Saudi Arabia alone. Imagine the jobs the development of this vast natural resource would create and the impact this would have on oil and gas prices.”
Kibbe concluded: “Harry Reid’s sly move must be stopped. It is never a good idea for Congress to pass legislation like this, which will harm employment opportunities and economic growth, and prevent relief from high gas prices for all Americans. But it is a particularly bad idea to do so when we’re also being told our economy is on the brink of disaster. This is the time when Congress should be doing everything it can to foster economic growth, not hinder it was outdated and unpopular bans like this one.”
In usual Washington fashion, the language extending the energy advancement ban is hard for anyone but a Capitol Hill insider to translate, let alone find. It is buried in a currently unnumbered Senate amendment to H.R. 2638, Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2008. It reads:.
SEC. 1602. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including section 152 of division A of H.R. 2638 (110th Congress), the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009, the terms and conditions contained in section 433 of division F of Public Law 110–161 shall remain in effect for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009.
It is only when you go to Public Law 110-161 that it becomes more clear. The specific section of relevance, section 433 of division F of Public Law 110-161 reads:
SEC. 433. None of the funds made available by this Act shall be used to prepare or publish final regulations regarding a commercial leasing program for oil shale resources on public lands pursuant to section 369(d) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law109–58) or to conduct an oil shale lease sale pursuant to subsection 369(e) of such Act.