If you learn nothing else today, at least learn this: The oil companies have leases right now which give them permission to drill on about 68 million acres of offshore land:
Unfortunately, President Bush and Sen. John McCain are trying to sell us on the oil companies' old argument that repealing the 27-year old moratorium on drilling in protected areas offshore will lower gas prices. Americans need to put this tired debate to rest. Our security--both here at home and abroad--depends on it.Another startling fact: In the last seven years (you remember how cheap gas was in 2001? Even when you were getting gouged on the afternoon of 9/11/01, you only paid $2.59), "permits for new oil drilling leases increased by 361 percent." If you're doing the math, that's faster than the price of a gallon of gas has increased since 2001.
First, the oil companies in this country now hold 7,000 leases to drill offshore, yet only 20 percent of those leases are producing oil. That is 68 million acres for which they already have the rights to drill. Nearly 80 percent of our offshore oil is already available for leasing--approximately 54 billion barrels total. They could be drilling in these areas, but they are not.
Having a lot of offshore sites to drill in and handing over more drilling permits hasn't seemed to keep gas prices in check. The next time you hear someone suggest that doing more of the same will get us a different result, remind them that that's the definition of crazy. Which, come to think of it, probably explains why we hear it so much from some people these days ...