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Hey Mydd,

I have flipped my Republican dad and am working on flipping my Republican mom into supporting Obama in the fall.  They live in central Ohio and are therefore very important electorally.

Unfortunately, the Republican offshore oil talking points have taken root in their house.  Below is the e-mail I want to send them to win them back on the oil issue.

I would love any advice on editing, more talking points, more sources (they love nonpartisan sources, i.e. MSM).  Do I have any factual errors because I don't want to get trapped in a partisan lie.  

Please help me win Ohio!!!



Hey,

Offshore oil-drilling is (or is going to be) a pretty big part of the Presidential campaign.  Right now the Republican party is winning the argument in the media because they are promising cheaper gas and their solution fits into a 30 second news soundbite (Drill in the ocean and gas will get cheaper).  The Democratic position is much harder to explain and is therefore losing because the media can't summarize it into a 30 second soundbite.  The super-short version of the Democratic position is that the oil companies are trying to screw us, increased offshore oil production won't decrease oil prices, and investing in alternative energy is a better bet in the long run.  

My goal is to explain the real truth without partisan bias (hopefully).  I am going to do this by going through the points and then linking to reputable sources (newspaper articles, government reports, etc.) to verify my claims.  This is going to be long and probably a little boring but please read it because I think it is a really important issue and if you know the truth neither side will be able to manipulate you.

So here we go.

The crux of the whole argument comes down to the following question:  Will removing the moratorium on new leases for offshore drilling increase oil production and decrease prices at the pump, and if so in what time frame?  Lets answer it.

What is the moratorium?

In 1981, Congress protected America's coasts, beaches, and marine ecosystems from the oil and gas development when they adopted the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Moratorium.  The moratorium prevents the leasing of coastal waters for the purpose of fossil fuel development. Every year since then Congress has renewed the moratorium on new oil and gas development off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as well as Bristol Bay Alaska. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush authored an additional level of protection, which deferred new leasing until 2002 and Bill Clinton then extended in 1998 to 2012.  George W. Bush removed the Presidential protection a couple of weeks ago but the Congressional ban still stands.

The moratorium covers 85 percent of the country's coastal waters -- everywhere except the central and western Gulf of Mexico and some areas off Alaska. See the map in link for areas that can and cannot be drilled.

Figure in the following 2006 MSNBC.com article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

15% of coastal waters are open for leasing (blue sections of the map).  The map does not cover offshore oil rigs that were in place before the ban.  They mainly exist in the Gulf of Mexico and off California.

Before we talk  about opening up the other 85% of coast, lets talk about the open 15% (43 million acres).

The approximately 43 million acres leased OCS acres generally accounts for about 15 percent of America's domestic natural gas production and about 27 percent of America's domestic oil production.   (http://www.mms.gov/...)

Unfortunately, they are currently only trying to produce oil on 23% of currently leased land (onshore and offshore). The 68 million acres (33 million offshore) of leased but inactive federal land have the potential to produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day.  This would nearly double total U.S. oil production, and increase natural gas production by 75 percent.  It would also cut U.S. oil imports by more than one-third, reducing America's dependency on foreign oil. Oil and gas companies are not required to demonstrate diligent development.   Because of this, oil and gas companies have been allowed to stockpile leases in a non-producing status, while leaving millions of acres of leased land untouched.

Democratic members of the house have recently introduced a bill (H.R. 6251). This bill forces their hand by compelling them to produce or hand the over their idle leases for someone who will.  For data in last paragraph, see: http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&a

mp;id=389&Itemid=70

One reason that oil companies are not currently willing to drill for oil offshore in lands they already have is due to how expensive it is and lack of equipment.  According to the NY Times, there are not enough drilling ships to dig for oil where we know it is.  A drilling ship costs about 500 million dollars.

http://www.nytimes.com/...

Democrats argue that we should not open new leases for drilling until the oil companies have tried to find oil in areas they control (68 million acres).   They believe that oil companies are playing politics and are just trying to stockpile offshore leases so they control the land when they choose to use it, presumably not in the near future or they would drill what they have.

In order to continue, we have to assume that if the ban were lifted oil companies would immediately begin drilling for oil in the newly available lands.  

Would immediate drilling have an immediate impact?  Republicans say yes.  Democrats say no.  John McCain splits the difference and says that the effect would be most psychological and would make people feel better but admits prices would change little in the short term.

John McCain:  "I don't see an immediate relief, but I do see that exploitation of existing reserves that may exist -- and in view of many experts that do exist off our coasts -- is also a way that we need to provide relief. Even though it may take some years, the fact that we are exploiting those reserves would have psychological impact that I think is beneficial."  See: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/...

The majority of Republicans are arguing that drilling offshore would stop oil speculation and oil prices would drop due to the lack of speculation.  Democrats believe that oil speculation should be limited by passing regulations and that if properly regulated oil would drop by about 30%.   (name removed) e-mailed about speculation a couple of weeks ago.  Here is his link: http://www.stopoilspeculationnow.com/

The organization he linked to endorses passing regulations to limit speculation.   A bill limiting speculation was recently introduced by the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) but was blocked by Senate Republicans because they wanted to tie it to their bill to remove the offshore moratorium. See: http://www.boston.com/...

Another option that has been discussed is actually collecting taxes from oil companies that are taking oil from leased public lands.  Due to negligence or corruption in the current administration, we have not been collecting the appropriate fees from the oil companies.  Prepared by the Interior Department's inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, the report said that investigators found a "profound failure" in the agency's technology for monitoring oil and gas payments.  The report suggests we have lost and will continue to lose around 10 billion dollars over the next decade.

http://www.nytimes.com/...

That takes care of short term, but would immediate drilling have a long-term impact?  Republicans say yes.  Democrats say barely.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently did a detailed study of the likely outcome of offshore drilling for their Annual Energy Outlook 2007, "Impacts of Increased Access to Oil and Natural Gas Resources in the Lower 48 Federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)."

http://www.eia.doe.gov/...

Here are the three most important paragraphs:

The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017. Total domestic production of crude oil from 2012 through 2030 in the OCS access case is projected to be 1.6 percent higher than in the reference case, and 3 percent higher in 2030 alone, at 5.6 million barrels per day. For the lower 48 OCS, annual crude oil production in 2030 is projected to be 7 percent higher--2.4 million barrels per day in the OCS access case compared with 2.2 million barrels per day in the reference case (Figure 20). Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.

Similarly, lower 48 natural gas production is not projected to increase substantially by 2030 as a result of increased access to the OCS. Cumulatively, lower 48 natural gas production from 2012 through 2030 is projected to be 1.8 percent higher in the OCS access case than in the reference case. Production levels in the OCS access case are projected at 19.0 trillion cubic feet in 2030, a 3-percent increase over the reference case projection of 18.4 trillion cubic feet. However, natural gas production from the lower 48 offshore in 2030 is projected to be 18 percent (590 billion cubic feet) higher in the OCS access case (Figure 21). In 2030, the OCS access case projects a decrease of $0.13 in the average wellhead price of natural gas (2005 dollars per thousand cubic feet), a decrease of 250 billion cubic feet in imports of liquefied natural gas, and an increase of 360 billion cubic feet in natural gas consumption relative to the reference case projections. In addition, despite the increase in production from previously restricted areas after 2012, total natural gas production from the lower 48 OCS is projected generally to decline after 2020.

Although a significant volume of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and natural gas resources is added in the OCS access case, conversion of those resources to production would require both time and money. In addition, the average field size in the Pacific and Atlantic regions tends to be smaller than the average in the Gulf of Mexico, implying that a significant portion of the additional resource would not be economically attractive to develop at the reference case prices.

The EIA is saying that prices changes will be insignificant because oil will be going to the global market not just to US consumers.  

Democrats agree.  Since normal market fluctuations would override these minimal discounts on the price per barrel of oil for this short amount of time, there would be no long term benefit to Americans with concern to the price of gasoline. As far as the reduction in imports is concerned, the increased demand from China and India would far outweigh any decrease in our demand, and thus OPEC and other oil producing nations would not be affected.

EIA is also saying that most of the offshore oil and gas is in hard to reach places and is not currently economically attractive to extract.

This is pretty long.  I will send another report later concerning the environmental concerns with more drilling (the Coast Guard estimated that oil rigs hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita spilled more than 7 million gallons of oil into the Gulf.).  I will also talk about alternative energy and why I think it is important to start now instead of waiting until we are screwed.  The environment and alternative energy make up the second half of the Democratic stand on breaking the offshore moratorium.

Please help!!

Cross-posted at MyDD.  I usually post there and lurk here but wanted a wider audience for help.  Thanks in advance for ideas!!

Originally posted to CAchemist on Sat Jul 26, 2008 at 11:47 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks (4+ / 0-)

    Tips for turning Republicans into Obamacans?

    Also, feel free to use this diary to discuss the merits or horribleness of offshore drilling.

  •  You might want to mention (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, robertacker13, CAchemist

    ...that McCain's own campaign guy said that, "allowing new offshore drilling would have no immediate impact on supplies or gas prices."

    Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

    by Barbara Morrill on Sat Jul 26, 2008 at 11:56:18 PM PDT

  •  Two things to stress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CAchemist

    The Bush (George W mind you) adm released a study in '06 or around there where they said even if offshore drilling started tomorrow no oil from that drilling would hit the market into 8 to 10 YEARS down the road, therefore the drilling mantra would do NOTHING to reduce oil (and by extension gas) prices today, tomorrow, or frankly until years down the road.  

    Another point to emphasize is that knowing the above it is obvious the Reps want to play on peoples frustrations with high gas prices and blame the DEMS for it (never mind that the Reps have been in charge of the WH for 8 years, were in charge of the House from '94 to '06, and were in charge of the Senate for most of '01 and from '03 to '07).  At that point tell them that the Dems in Congress put up a bill this week to have millions of barrels of oil released from the US Strategic Oil Reserve TODAY (meaning if passed it would bring an immediate drop in gas prices) but the REPS killed the bill.  If the Reps were really interested in help people with high gas prices why did they vote against something that WOULD help people now, but push for something that would NOT help anyone (except oil companies) for years!

    •  in a 10 year timeframe (0+ / 0-)

      if we do what Al Gore recommends, we'd have the green electricity to largely replace oil in transportation (electric car, electric rail) applications and we will probably have electrical storage good enough to replace the more difficult mobile applications, e.g. long-haul trucking, agriculture, long-haul auto commuting.

      It's my understanding that for auto usage, electricity is more cost-effective than gas/diesel. But I'm too tired to source this right now.

      With respect to drilling:

      • Remember why we stopped drilling off coastlines?
      • Remember the oil spill when "Insane" McCain decided to make a speech about the wonders of drilling on an oil platform?

      As a solution to high gas prices, drilling is worthless and will become even more so.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Sun Jul 27, 2008 at 04:15:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oil reserves (0+ / 0-)

    I like the point about the Strategic Oil reserves bill.  I will add it into the mix.

    Thanks

  •  Also (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, robertacker13, CAchemist

    From today's Washington Post:

    Campaign contributions from oil industry executives to Sen. John McCain rose dramatically in the last half of June, after the senator from Arizona made a high-profile split with environmentalists and reversed his opposition to the federal ban on offshore drilling.

    Ask them why the oil companies would be so happy about this.  ;-)

    link

    Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

    by Barbara Morrill on Sun Jul 27, 2008 at 12:08:59 AM PDT

  •  Do remember that the oil companies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, robertacker13, CAchemist

    already have had millions of places to drill for oil - but have not done so

    besides there is not enough refinery capacity

    and even if we were to drill in Anwar - it would not go here it would go to the far East

    We cannot drill our way out of this -- the only way will be to replace it with wind energy - solar energy

    Denmark and Germany already gets 20-25% of their energy from renewable resources -- we need to do the same.

    "Proud to proclaim: I am a Bleeding Heart Liberal"

    by sara seattle on Sun Jul 27, 2008 at 12:09:08 AM PDT

  •  Frankly, I Think Democrats... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    busrider

    ...should agree to "drilling."

    It will neutralize the Republican position. (Plus, it's not gonna happen.)

    Pluto now orbits Overnight News Digest ʍou sʇıqɹo oʇnld

    by Pluto on Sun Jul 27, 2008 at 12:20:38 AM PDT

  •  Old chestnuts, check theoildrum.com archives. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, ExpressStreetcar

    Seriously.

    Also, check Matt Simmons, of Simmons and company .. he is a Republican, and the president of the largest energy related investment bank in the world, Simmons and Company.

    He supports drilling, but says it will make little or no difference in supplies.
    Simmons also keeps a public archive of all of his major speeches, and presentations. Free to download.
    Simmons' solutions (relocalize food production, relocalize life, public transit, trains, crash search for usable new energy sources (not drilling)), makes him sound like a Sierra Clubber.
     Simmons is considered 'oil patch royalty', and everyone in the business listens to him.
    Also, check the links at at the oil drum ... you'll be able to find the figures for daily US and World oil consumption... these will tell you a lot about why drilling offshore isn't a solution, period.
    Gas prices may moderate a little bit.  But over the next couple of years, prepare for 200 dollar a barrel oil.  As sure as the sun rises in my face.
    Or something.

    "If the Nuremberg laws were applied, every post WWII US President would have been hanged." =Chomsky

    by abenjaminc on Sun Jul 27, 2008 at 12:28:25 AM PDT

  •  The longer you wait, the more value it has (0+ / 0-)

    Rather than consuming all of our oil now, we should at least wait until later when it will be much more valuable.

    If we had drilled for it back in 1980, we would have gotten maybe $30 a barrel for it.  Now we could get $130, but if we wait another 20 years we could get $230 (maybe $630, who knows?).

    Bottom line: whether you think we should or should not drill in principle, we can agree it's better to wait a few decades before making the decision to consume it.

  •  'Energy for you or more moeny for Big Oil?' (0+ / 0-)

    Or variations on it, is a good 'bumper sticker' of the Democratic position, IMO.  

    One problem with your e-mail I see on a quick read, is that you buy into and repeat both Rethug and McSame frames.  To wit: 'nevermind who got us into this, that we lied you into the War in Iraq on this 'cheap oil' b/s then let our friends rape your pocketbooks, oil and gas are the only energy, drilling is the only solution, BIG Oil must own all', among others for the Rethugs; 'McSame choses the middle-way' for Mc'I'm not questioning his patriotism, just calling him a traitor!'Sleeze.

    The reality is really simple:

    1. One hour's sunlight is enough energy to run the entire freaking world for a year.  Almost all the energy we use (the exceptions being nukes and geothermal) is actually sunlight, whether hundreds of millions of years old (fossil dino-shit: oil, gas and coal) or current(photovoltaic, photothermal, wind, tide, biomass).  (BTW, this meme should be pushed for them to understand there is nothing 'exotic' or 'hippy' about solar, etc., renewables.  Oil, gas and coal are just a tiny sliver of the sunlight from hundreds of million of years ago that survived to the last 200 years in a very limited non-renewable, bio-concentrated stored-form.  And while its actually mostly microscopic sea life carcasses and plant life, 'dino-shit' also reminds us of the inevitably terrible environmental consequences of fossil fuel - what you thought you could live on shit and not get sick?)

    The issue is do we only rely on the shrinking supplies of that tiny sliver of sunlight that by chance happened to get stored as dino-shit?  Or do we finally begin deploying the new ways to get that sun energy, ways which are already technically and economically viable?  Put another way, do we keep giving the oil addict ever-more-costly fixes or do we start curing his addiction?

    1. The current GOP drilling b/s is an intentional distraction from making that choice.  How?  

    If they cared about reducing gasoline prices, why not release some of the strategic reserve, one purpose of which was to be used to stabilize prices?  Why did Rethugs vote against that?  Why does did Bush threaten to veto it?

    If they wanted more oil/gas, why not force Big Oil to drill on the 68 million acres they have now?  Why not begin getting the millions of barrels and cubic feet RIGHT NOW?  Why did the Rethugs vote against this?  Why did Bush say he would veto it?  

    If Big Oil won't drill what they already have, why would they drill the new land the Rethugs want to give them?  Especially as 1/2 of what they have now is on land - thus costing much less, and with far less likely harmful environmental impact - than all the 'new leases' offshore?  (And don't call them 'leases'.  Its selling the mineral rights.  Or do you think Big Oil's gonna put the oil and gas back after it drills it out?)  

    1. And that doesn't even begin to address the 5 years wait and billions cost of drilling ship/platforms ('course, they don't need those ships for 1/2 of their present leases... so why aren't they drilling them now, again?)
    1. If food prices were going up like energy (yeah, I know) and farmer-Bob had a bunch of fields fallow, why would you even think of giving him more of your irreplaceable land 'cause he promises he might, some day, maybe grow more food on it, and might not just sell that to China or India?  (Isn't something like 1/2 of the oil from Alaska exported?)

    What farmer-Bob - and Big Oil - really wants is THE LAND (mineral rights).  Its a LAND GRAB. That they cash use to get investments, or leverage with loans, etc., and get more money NOW.  What you thought Exxon would stop at $ 44 billion profit a year?

    1. To repeat: Its a LAND GRAB. Brought to you by the same people who lied you into spending trillions on trying for a land grab in Iraq.  How'd that work out for you?  Why do you think the Rethug 'drill' scam will work out any better?
    1. And oh by the way, the renewables this drilling scam is intended to kill would ultimately let most residential customers reduce their energy costs to near zero - like the smart rich now do - by producing more power than they use and making the utilities pay the excess.  Do you think maybe the utility companies - often owned by or otherwise linked to Big Oil - want to start paying you anything rather than the other way around?
    •  Understand where you are coming from (0+ / 0-)

      I understand that I am ignoring a lot of the basis for why we are in such a screwed up situation.  Unfortunately, my parents are a little touchy about their Republicanism and push back harder when I become an aggressive partisan.

      I am trying to soften my tone but still get through to them that we are right and the repubs are wrong.

      •  Oh I understood that, and expect you will not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        robertacker13

        use the more incendiary labels.  You could always say 'did you think you could live on dino-crap and not get sick'? :)

        Nonetheless, my points remain:

        1. Its a land grab and way of making Big Oil even richer.  It has nothing to with reducing energy or gasoline prices.  By the time any of it came on line (if its actually there) there will be over 200 million new cars driving in China and god knows how many more in India.  That alone means it can't possibly reduce prices.
        1. McSame's all for this but against tapping the reserve - i.e., more gas right now - or making them drill the land they have now - i.e., more oil and gas soon . What would you say if I said give me the title to your house now and I won't put a new roof on it now or tomorrow but some day 10 or 15 years from now I might, maybe?
        1. It is a distraction aimed at killing the best chance we have had in a long time to actually begin getting off the addiction and onto independent, American, environmentally sound energy sources.  Wouldn't the best gift they could give their grandkids be to vote for starting to get us off this financially ruinous, politically disastrous and environmentally catastrophic oil addiction?
  •  i'd keep it short & sweet, something like; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard

    do you actually believe the people & party that have worked so hard to give the oil companies record profits at the consumers expense give a rat's ass about you & what you pay for gasoline?

    Anyone who advocates, supports, defends, rationalizes, or excuses torture has pus for brains and a case of scurvy for a conscience. - James Wolcott

    by rasbobbo on Sun Jul 27, 2008 at 01:10:08 AM PDT

  •  does the idea that mccain graduated LAST (0+ / 0-)

    in his class do anything in persuading your parents? he graduated at the BOTTOM 0.5% out of nearly 900 students at the naval academy. graduated b/c his grandfather and father were admirals.. while obama graduated at the top of his class. when im campaigning, this seems to catch people's eye, and has convinced some of my other republican friends to vote obama. it kinda destroyed the experience argument for them.

  •  Most of you are completely missing the point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard

    You are not going to convince such people by pointing out flaws in McCain.  You'll only succeed in getting them to totally tune you out.

    You are not going to change their mind by pointing out how X corporation, Y lobbyist, or Z generic bad guy does not have their interests at heart.  They will hear this as lunatic screed, no matter how accurate or inaccurate you may be.

    You might change their mind by starting from their frame of reference and making inferences and conclusions that they themselves would make if only they had thought of them.

  •  simple argument (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JMcDonald

    If you have a limited supply of something  in the world ,  do you get everybody else to use theirs up or do you use all of yours up first? I have used this line of argument during the previous ANWR  debates and it's always worked for me.

  •  Make it simpler (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard

    Oil is expensive because the demand from now on exceeds the supply. Very soon, within the next couple of decades it will be all gone.

    In the past we exploited an ocean of light sweet crude in Saudi Arabia known as the Ghawar. Now that's on rinse cycle and can't meet its production goals. There is still some natural gas and some coal but all the light sweet crude is already gone.

    We have also used up most of the large reserves in Venezuala, Nigeria, the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, the Teapot Dome, Texas and Alaska.

    The oil companies want to lease our offshore gas reserves not so they can drill, they already have huge leases they haven't begun to drill yet, they just want the leases so others can't drill and tap into the monopolies which give them control of the production, refineries and distribution betworks.

    What remains after the oil in Iraq and Iran we are presently going to war for, is heavycrude and shale oil, small deposits that are 7 1/2 miles down in the ocean and other hard to drill, refine and transport leftovers.

    If we haven't developed alternative energy to replace our dependence on oil in the next decade then we won't have the resources to make the transition.

    Competition for what remains from China and India takes us out of the drivers seat in negotiating for what remains.

    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Impeach, Incarcerate

    by rktect on Sun Jul 27, 2008 at 03:00:48 AM PDT

  •  additional arguments (0+ / 0-)
    1. As we lease offshore tracts, we do not own the oil, the oil companies do.
    1. Since we import 70% of our usage, if we increase our capacity by 10%, then Opec decreases their output on world markets at the same pace and the price stays the same as we do not own the oil...the oil companies do.

    3.There can be no argument on prices unless the industry is nationalized as we export over 1 million barrels of oil a day.

    1. Cheaper for oil companies to drill overseas and there are great tax advantages for them in the middle east as they pay no income taxes. They have created foreign corporations and keep the money outside of the US.

    5.We would be better off helping 3rd world countries drill to ease the oil supply and decrease their dependence on the US for aid.  
    6.Oil is sold on the world market. A discovery in Gabon or Kenya is no different than the White House lawn as far as an impact on prices. Back to point 3

  •  Unfortunately...this is a potential problem for.. (0+ / 0-)

    Democrats...we are beginning to be seen as obstructionist on obtaining more energy domestically.

    We need to put together a comprehensive energy independence bill that focuses on renewables primarily (the Al Gore Plan) but also includes allowing more drilling in the short term, release of oil from the SPR, conservation, nuclear, futures trading reform.

    This should be a comprehensive bill that the Republicans would not sign because even though it includes additional drilling it has too much stuff in it that they oppose...then we will regain the upper hand again...

    Obama/Whoever He Chooses '08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

    by dvogel001 on Sun Jul 27, 2008 at 05:56:28 AM PDT

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