Monday, February 13, 2006

What Else Is New?

I had to walk away for a few minutes while reading this article, check out the homeless stories from New Orleans.
U.S. Royalty Plan to Give Windfall to Oil Companies - New York Times: "New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.

Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011. The companies are expected to get the largess, known as royalty relief, even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period.

Administration officials say that the benefits are dictated by laws and regulations that date back to 1996, when energy prices were relatively low and Congress wanted to encourage more exploration and drilling in the high-cost, high-risk deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

'We need to remember the primary reason that incentives are given,' said Johnnie M. Burton, director of the federal Minerals Management Service. 'It's not to make more money, necessarily. It's to make more oil, more gas, because production of fuel for our nation is essential to our economy and essential to our people.'

But what seemed like modest incentives 10 years ago have ballooned to levels that have alarmed even ardent supporters of the oil and gas industry, partly because of added sweeteners approved during the Clinton administration but also because of ambiguities in the law that energy companies have successfully exploited in court.

Short of imposing new taxes on the industry, there may be little Congress can do to reverse its earlier giveaways. The new projections come at a moment when President Bush and Republican leaders are on the defensive about record-high energy prices, soaring profits at major oil companies and big cuts in domestic spending."
Like that is going to happen.
"I don't think there is a single member of Congress who thinks you should get royalty relief at $70 a barrel" for oil, said Representative Richard W. Pombo, Republican of California and chairman of the House Resources Committee.

"It was Congress's intent," Mr. Pombo said in an interview on Friday, "that if oil was at $10 a barrel, there should be royalty relief so companies could have some kind of incentive to invest capital. But at $70 a barrel, don't expect royalty relief."
Pombo? Pombo is speaking out against this, am I in the Twilight Zone? Exxon made obscene profits along with the rest of the oil companies. Exactly when will the American people expect to see some relief?

Corruption, malfeasance, incompetence, price and wage fixing, lackadaisical attitudes and arrogant smirks. What else do you need to run a country?

Into the ground.

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