The Senate is scheduled to vote on Big Oil’s wish list today.
Senator Roberts’s (R-KS) amendment #1826, which is attached to the Transportation bill (S. 1813), is even worse than the Vitter amendment that failed in the Senate last week.
It would mandate – yes, require – oil drilling off of every coast in our nation and in the Arctic Refuge, allow oil shale development on millions of acres in America’s west, and again push through the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, also rejected last week.
If passed, here’s what would happen:
Offshore Oil Drilling EVERYWHERE.
The amendmenet requires oil drilling to be doubled from current levels, which are already the highest in a decade.
It would force new drilling off the entire Atlantic coast, from Maine to Florida, off the California coast, and in the Alaskan Arctic. States that have banned drilling off their coasts (like California) would be over-ruled.
Drilling would be fast-tracked, and Administrations, now or in the future would have no say in deciding where oil leases would be offered along both US coasts. It requires a set percentage of the coast be leased each year until every available parcel is leased.
The Roberts amendment also approves environmental impact assessments completed before the BP oil disaster – there’s no requirement for upgrades based on that learnings from that oil spill.
Requires Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
It mandates drilling in this protected area – one of the few pristine ecosystems remaining in the US. 95% of the area is already open to oil drilling – this opens the remaining 5%, which is home to 200 wildlife species, including polar bears, musk oxen, and caribou.
Opens Millions of Acres in the West to Oil Shale Development
Even though oil shale development has yet to be proven to be commercially viable, it would force the secretary to open millions of acres of federal lands in the west to oil shale development.
As in tar sands, oil shale extraction, would have substantial negative environmental impacts on preserved land for wildlife, air and water resources and greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s like squeezing oil from a rock – it requires enormous amounts of energy to heat the oil shale, basically defeating the whole purpose of developing a new energy source.
Approves the Tar Sands Keystone XL Pipeline
Another try to push the pipeline through, it would be approved without environmental review.