Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not a Compromise

Let us pretend for a moment that you are a Meat Lover and that your significant other is a vegetarian. (That may well be the case but I am building a hypothetical situation here so work with me, please.)

For a quarter of a century, you and yours have only been to vegetarian restaurants. After everyone from your friends to your doctors tells you that you are malnourished and need to have meat, your significant other relents and you “compromise” on a restaurant that serves meat. The only problem with the restaurant is that the only meat they serve is mere scraps unfit to serve dogs. It is also incredibly expensive.

There is a Brazilian steak house next door that serves excellent food and costs much less.

However, your significant other calls the Crappy Scrap Restaurant a “compromise” because she is has yielded to patronizing a restaurant with meat. She calls it a “compromise” though you still have not received anything you want. (I say “she” for the “significant other” because in any heterovoracious relationship, it is the woman who is the vegetarian – or at least is a man pretending to be a woman.) (I think I just made up the word “heterovoracious” too.)

This scenario has just unfolded in the United States House of Representatives. For a more than a quarter of a century, off-shore drilling has been outlawed in United States coastal waters. There is a notable exception though… China is now drilling off of the coast of Cuba and is rumored to be planning slant drilling into what would be reserves in the United States.

Now, delivered to the floor for a vote with little debate and passed by a vote on near-party lines, comes the COAST Anti-Drilling Act. I am sorry, that was the bill introduced by Democrats last year. I meant to say the DRILL NOW Act of 2008.

In this piece of “legislation” Democrats “give” the states the authority to decide if they will allow drilling between fifty and one-hundred miles of their shores. Since the ban on drilling was something that they wanted, they are calling this a compromise. In exchange, it permanently bans drilling within the zero to fifty miles from the coast. (It is as permanent as any law is – i.e. it can be overturned by another law.)

Additionally, it levies further taxes on the companies drilling the oil. This law effectively makes drilling in the fifty to one-hundred mile marker so expensive that only the largest of oil companies can afford to explore and drill. No start up companies or small companies can afford to take the risk of even exploring.

“Yes”, it is a risk because there are a lot of expenses in exploring. Wildcatters once took the risks because they did not know where oil was. With the improvements in technology, the risks in finding oil were lessened and then became continent as to how long it would take an oil well to replenish. This law makes exploration a risk again.

The problem with this “compromise” is that that is offers what nobody wants.

Republican law makers want to allow drilling in known bodies of crude oil. This effectively allows for drilling now. Unlike the euphemistic name of the law, it does not allow for drilling now. It is not even euphemistic… It is double talk.

A real compromise would not be based on artificial boundaries such as the mile markers. A real compromise would have allowed drilling in some areas of known oil deposits. A real compromise would have us drilling now.

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