New U.S. Representative Dan Benishek, from Michigan’s first congressional district, warns his constituents that environmentalists have practically shut down the American energy industry. Benishek writes that divine forces have provided fossil fuels to humankind as a gift that must be used, and complains that “Radical environmentalism has rendered energy development next to impossible.”
Is it true? Is energy development in the United States next to impossible? The facts suggest otherwise.
Just today, the Obama Administration has announced that 13 companies will begin new deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, in spite of the fact that legislation to compensate victims of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling explosion and oil spill has stalled in Congress. This drilling is in addition to the large amount of deepwater drilling that’s already taking place there.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement reports that 3,247 permits for work on offshore drilling have been granted in the last six months alone. That’s not even counting the extensive drilling for oil and natural gas that’s taking place on land. Energy development in the United States is next to impossible? Hardly. It’s thriving.
What can explain Benishek’s strident declaration that energy exploration in the United States has been brought nearly to a standstill, then? Perhaps the discrepancy between Benishek’s perception and the reality of energy exploration can be explained by the $29,800.00 that Benishek’s 2010 congressional campaign took from individuals and organizations associated with big oil, energy and mining companies.