Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oil Leases - Use It Or Lose It


From Rep. John Boehner's website:


“In an effort to compel oil and gas companies to produce on the 68 million acres of federal lands, both onshore and offshore, that are leased but sitting idle, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) today introduced legislation that gives Big Oil one option - either ‘use it or lose it.’” (Release, 6/12/08)

THE FACTS: “Use It or Lose It” is already the law of the land.

• The Secretary of the Interior ALREADY can “cancel” a lease if the lessee “fails to comply” with the law, regulations or the terms of the lease.

• The Law on Cancelling Leases: According to Title 30, Subsection 188(a) and (b) of the United States Code, “any lease … may be forfeited and canceled … whenever the lessee fails to comply with any provisions of this chapter, of the lease, or of the general regulations … Any lease … shall be subject to cancellation by the Secretary of the Interior after 30 days notice upon failure of the lessee to comply with any of the provisions of the lease….”
So what was Nancy Pelosi proposing?
Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act

On June 26, the House voted on the Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act, the "Use It or Lose It" bill (H.R. 6251). This legislation will compel the oil industry to start drilling on the 68 million acres which they are currently warehousing or be barred from obtaining any more federal drilling leases until they demonstrate that they are diligently developing those lands. While 223 Members voted for the bill, it failed to get the two-thirds support necessary for passage.

Details of the bill:

  • The “Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act of 2008” would bar companies from obtaining any more federal leases for drilling onshore or on the Outer Continental Shelf, unless they can demonstrate that they are producing oil and gas from the leases they already hold or are in the process of diligently developing the leases they already hold. The bill directs the Interior Secretary to define “diligent development.”
  • This bill gives companies an incentive to relinquishing their non-producing leases, creating an opportunity for another company to explore for and perhaps produce oil or gas from them. Under the bill, the terms of leases which are in production, or which can demonstrate diligent development, are extended.
  • For nearly 30 years, companies that lease federal coal resources have been required by law to diligently develop their leases. This requirement has discouraged the rampant speculation that once existed in the federal coal leasing program.
Is she saying that we need a law to force enforcement of a law? Is that like needing an immigration law to force enforcement of immigration laws?

What does John Boehner say about all of those "unused" leases?
MYTH: Oil companies are sitting on 68 million acres of federal lands without drilling for oil or gas on any of it.

FACT: This false claim has become one of the Democrats’ top talking points, but they can’t back it up with any facts. Energy companies already are actively exploring their currently-leased lands to find oil or gas. Once they determine that oil or gas is present, only then can they actually begin drilling. The entire process can take years.

As the independent American Association of Petroleum Geologists noted in a letter to House leaders yesterday, “[O]il and natural gas exploration is not simple and it is not easy. It requires geological ingenuity, advanced technologies, and the time to do the job right. It also requires access to areas where exploration ideas can be tested – the greater the number of areas available for exploration, the higher the chance of finding oil and natural gas traps.” In other words, energy companies cannot be expected to drill on every acre of land every single day.
What does John Boehner propose?
“House Republicans have a plan to help lower gas prices by supporting more production of American energy, encouraging more conservation and efficiency, and promoting greater use of alternative fuels. Today, we’ve transformed our plan into a single bill that reflects our ‘all of the above’ strategy. We have only nine days remaining before the August recess, and it’s time for Speaker Pelosi to bring this bill to the floor so Members on both sides of the aisle can give it the support we all know it would receive.
To which Nancy and Harry have politely responded: "Screw you!"

Nothing to look at here, folks. No, no substance. Ignore the haze.


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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)