Daily Archives: July 13, 2012

Offshore Drilling: Sneaky Sneaky Administration

Offshore Areas Open for Drilling when President Obama Took Office

Offshore Areas Blocked for Drilling under President Obama’s Final 2012-2017 Plan

By Ashlee Smith on July 13, 2012

The Obama administration is continuing its war on affordable energy for the American public. This time the effects of the administration’s policy decisions will come through the reduction of offshore drilling sites in the 2012-2017 offshore lease plan.  The administration isn’t jumping up and down to bring attention to this issue, probably because there are no positives to be excited about. Further proof of this is the fact the Obama administration released the final plan the day of the Supreme Court’s ObamaCare decision. This distraction diverted most attention away from the drilling plan. Thankfully, the Obama administration doesn’t get the final word in this instance. Offshore drilling plans go through a process of public comment and Congressional review.

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) requires a five-year plan for the production and sale of oil and gas needed to meet American energy needs. The Obama lease plan for the next five years will close 85 percent of the American offshore drilling areas from production. The “new” five-year plan essentially reinstates the 30-year moratorium for offshore energy production. Obama under his “all-the-above” energy plan has been working to restrict offshore drilling access. The uncertainty of the oil and gas drilling industry is causing companies to look to other countries to allow them to do offshore drilling. President Obama is causing unnecessary increases in energy costs and hampering  job creation in various parts of the country, which have millions or even billions of barrels of untouched oil and natural gas. I thought the president said he was going to create jobs and help restore our economy? He has the perfect opportunity to do just that by opening up our Continental Shelf, but he’d rather push unaffordable, unattainable, and unreliable ‘green’ energy companies.

President Obama can’t run from the facts of the situation. His energy policy record is anything but promising for our future. In the last three years of President Obama’s term, offshore lease sale revenue is down over 250 times of what it was prior to him taking office, we went from collecting $9.48 billion to only $36 million in revenue. Even land oil production is down 13 percent from last year.  The new plan Obama is supporting will only exacerbate the problem. The whole Atlantic and Pacific coasts, along with a majority of the Alaskan OCS areas off limits as well. Leases will become shorter, fewer in number, and increasingly costly. Yet Obama continues to stick by his statement that he’s increasing production and reducing oil imports.

Energy Research’s Vice President Dan Kish:

“Millions of Americans are still looking for jobs. The Gulf Coast economy has yet to recover from President Obama’s moratorium on offshore drilling. President Obama has signaled today that he has no regard for our energy future, nor the jobs that a sensible, long-term plan for offshore development would create.”

House Energy Committee Chairman, Fred Upton had this comment to make on the issue:

“While we have seen some respite from rising gasoline prices, Americans are still paying almost double at the pump what they were when President Obama was inaugurated, and we are still just one natural disaster or foreign crisis away from a major supply disruption that could send prices soaring. To stabilize prices, we need a visionary, long-term supply solution. Earlier this month, the House passed a proposal with bipartisan support to remove the president’s barriers to American energy production and job creation. Today’s announcement underscores the urgent need for these commonsense reforms.”

The House Committee on Natural Resources has come up with a replacement plan to Obama administration. This congressional plan would allow for additional oil and natural gas leases, create jobs, encourage offshore energy development, and increase domestic energy production to give America more energy security.

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Noble’s New Drillship Enters Three-Year Contract in GoM

Noble Corporation announced that the Company has entered into a three-year term drilling contract with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation for the Noble Bob Douglas, one of Noble’s new ultra-deepwater drillships currently under construction at the Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea. The drillship, which is being constructed on a fixed price basis, is expected to be utilized for operations primarily in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The Noble Bob Douglas is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2013. The contract is expected to commence thereafter following mobilization to an initial operating location and client acceptance. Revenues to be generated over the three-year term are expected to total approximately $677 million. The contract also provides for an operating cost escalation provision.

The Noble Bob Douglas is one of four ultra-deepwater drillships being constructed for Noble by HHI. All four drillships are based on a Hyundai Gusto P10000 hull design, capable of operations in water depths of up to 12,000 feet and offering a variable deck load of 20,000 metric tons. The Noble Bob Douglas will be delivered fully equipped to operate in up to 10,000 feet of water while offering DP-3 station keeping, two complete six-ram BOP systems, multiple parallel activity features that improve overall well construction efficiencies and accommodations for up to 210 personnel. The rig will also be equipped with a 165-ton heave compensated construction crane to facilitate deployment of subsea production equipment, providing another level of efficiency during field development programs.

With the award of this contract for the Noble Bob Douglas, two of the Company’s four ultra-deepwater drillships under construction at HHI are now under contract. The remaining two uncontracted drillships are scheduled to be delivered from the shipyard in 2014.

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The misunderstood history of nullification

By Mike Maharrey
National Communications Director
The Tenth Amendment Center

Could the recent Supreme Court ruling on the federal health care act bring conservative Republicans back to their state-sovereignty, nullification roots?

It just might.

Last week, two major conservative publications — National Review and The American Spectator — featured stories flirting with nullification. On top of that, millions of conservative Republicans got a nullification lesson on Thursday when Walter Williams guest-hosted “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”

Many Americans associate nullification with racism, because they think Southern states used the principle to protect slavery. In fact, northern abolitionists advanced nullification and appealed to “states’ rights” in their battle against fugitive slave laws. And while modern Republicans generally respond tepidly to the idea of nullification, their party was born out of a nullification fight in Wisconsin, a historical fact that long ago fell down an Orwellian memory hole.

Historically speaking, the Republican Party is the party of nullification.

In March of 1854, Benammi Stone Garland, two federal marshals and several others broke into the home of Joshua Glover. They clubbed him over the head, dragged him bleeding from his shanty and locked him up in the Milwaukee jail. Glover was an escaped slave, and Garland his “owner.” Legally, Garland had every right to take his “property” into custody and drag Glover back to Missouri. The Constitution provided for the return of escaped slaves. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 created the mechanism. The act denied due process to anyone accused of escaping slavery. Federal courts authorized the capture of fugitive slaves simply on the word of their “owners.” The accused weren’t even allowed to testify in their own defense. The Fugitive Slave Act was wildly unpopular and actively resisted in every northern state.

Wisconsinites quickly acted. Led by Sherman Booth, an abolitionist newspaper editor, several thousand people gathered on the steps of the Milwaukee courthouse. When a federal judge refused to release Glover on a writ of habeas corpus, the throng broke him out of jail and ushered him onto the famed Underground Railroad. Glover ultimately escaped to freedom in Canada.

The events of that spring day sparked a five-year battle between Wisconsin and the federal government. The feds charged Booth for violating the Fugitive Slave Act, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court freed him on a writ of habeas corpus, declaring the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional. Justice Abram Smith wrote, “Every jot and tittle of power delegated to the Federal Government will be acquiesced in, but every jot and tittle of power reserved to the States will be rigidly asserted.”

The aftermath of Glover’s escape led directly to the formation of the Republican Party. Anti-slavery meetings in the spring of 1854 spurred by the fight between Wisconsin and the federal government led to a statewide convention in July. The attendees formed a party and nominated candidates for the November elections. They called their new party “the Republican Party.” It flexed its muscle that fall, winning two of three congressional races and taking control of the Wisconsin legislature.

Republicans lost ground in 1855 when the party added temperance to its platform. But with the battle over slavery turning bloody in Kansas, Wisconsin Republicans turned things around in the 1856 elections. The fledgling party, promoting free soil and state sovereignty, took all three congressional seats, and grabbed firm control of the state assembly and senate. The Republican-controlled state legislature passed a resolution supporting the Wisconsin Supreme Court in nullifying the Fugitive Slave Act and interposing for Booth. It also defied federal law by passing a Personal Liberty Act. Among other things, the law gave county courts the power to issue writs of habeas corpus to fugitive slaves, made it the duty of district attorneys to seek their discharge and established fines of $1,000 for kidnapping free blacks.

The selection of Wisconsin’s next U.S. senator reveals the Republican Party’s deep state-sovereignty roots. The caucus put two resolutions to the candidates. The first endorsed Jeffersonian constitutionalism as expressed in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, which nullified the Alien and Sedition Acts. The second asserted that Republicans had a duty to stand by the state Supreme Court to “pronounce final judgment” in all matters regarding the reserved powers of the states and to shield residents from unconstitutional federal acts. Early front-runner Timothy Howe heartily endorsed the first resolution but equivocated on the second. He ultimately lost to James Doolittle, who pledged his full support for both resolutions.

The Republican Party grew from the soil of state sovereignty and nullification. Now is the time for Republicans to rediscover those roots and support state nullification of the federal health care act.

Mike Maharrey serves as the national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center, a think tank promoting constitutional fidelity and working to restore a proper balance of power between the state and federal governments. You may contact Mike at: michael.maharrey@tenthamendmentcenter.com.

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