Thursday, October 22, 2009

Offshore Drilling there but not here

I noticed "That's My Congress calling our Frank LoBiondo for trying to ban offshore drilling, but only near New Jersey:

Last year, LoBiondo voted in favor of H.R. 6899, the ironically-entitled Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act (the legislation helped to promote risky sources of energy from which American consumers need protection). That legislation effectively lifted the moratorium on offshore drilling for oil in American waters.

This year, however, LoBiondo is the primary sponsor of H.R. 2439, a bill that would forbid new offshore drilling for oil - but only in the waters belonging to LoBiondo’s home state of New Jersey.

Whoever wrote it went to on to make an interesting point:

With H.R. 2439, Representative LoBiondo and his colleagues have fallen prey to a cynical divide-and-conquer strategy devised by lobbyists for big oil companies. First, these lobbyists convinced members of Congress to vote in favor of expanded offshore drilling - but with the idea that Representatives could create special protections for their own states, letting other states take all the risks. Now that the barriers to new drilling have been taken down, members of state delegations to the House of Representatives have put together legislation that would ban offshore drilling, but only in their own states. Each little state-based coalition lacks the votes it needs for its own bill, with a state-against-state dynamic, and so the coastline in every state remains vulnerable the oil spills that inevitably come as a result of increased drilling.

I'd add, though, that there's no particular reason to think LoBiondo or anyone else is sincere when introducing such a local bill. More likely it is just posturing, so he can point to the bill when criticized. Of course I have no idea what's in his heart.