Sunday, September 26, 2021
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US Senate Rejects Both Schumer and McConnell – GOOD!

On Tuesday evening a vote in the Senate on a bill sponsored by Sen. Schumer, Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, was rejected. Sixty votes were needed for passage, and it only received 50 D votes and 2 R votes. The No votes included 45 R votes and 3 D votes. On Wednesday afternoon a vote in the Senate on a bill sponsored by Sen. McConnell, Offshore Production and Safety Act of 2011, was rejected. Sixty votes were needed for passage, and it only received 42 R votes. The No votes included 52 D votes and 5 R votes. Sen. Baucus did not vote.

I am glad that they were both rejected, and I am also disappointed that only 4 Republicans and 3 Democrats voted No on both of these bills. Only one of these seven has to worry about keeping his seat in 2012. Now it seems pretty obvious why I am glad that Sen. Schumer’s bill was rejected. It disappoints but does not shock me that the two liberal Republicans from Maine joined with 50 Ds in support of the bill. Sen. Landrieu and Sen. Begich were quite vocal about their opposition to this bill. Some may be surprised or perplexed as to why I am glad that Sen. McConnell’s bill was rejected. Let’s look closer at the language in the bill.

SEC. 6. JUDICIAL REVIEW OF AGENCY ACTIONS RELATING TO OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF ACTIVITIES IN THE GULF OF MEXICO.
(2) COVERED ENERGY PROJECT
(d) EXPEDITION IN HEARING AND DETERMINING THE ACTION.
The court shall endeavor to hear and determine any covered civil action as expeditiously as possible.
(e) STANDARD OF REVIEW.
In any judicial review of a covered civil action
(1) administrative findings and conclusions relating to the challenged Federal action or decision shall be presumed to be correct; and
(2) the presumption under paragraph (1) may be rebutted only by the preponderance of the evidence contained in the administrative record.

I read those details and a warning bell sounds off in my head. Under subsection (d) given that federal court cases can drag on for years and that the federal courts are populated with anti-drilling Democrats and clueless Republican judges, what does court shall endeavor to hear and determine any covered civil action as expeditiously as possible mean? Judicial review should be confined to a finite period like 60 days. Under subsection (e) “preponderance of the evidence” is a vague legal standard. This section should be changed to say that a a permit challenge can only succeed if some sort of fraud or gross error in the administrative record is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

For years, energy and environmental bills have been written by the enviros and for the enviros to block energy production. Let’s get a bill written that will produce a meaningful amount of energy in a reasonably quick manner. For me this McConnell bill is just like Obama saying there needs to be more domestic production of oil. He says it to look like he is taking the right position to get re-elected, but he knows the EPA and Interior Dept. will still keep it from happening. I do not want to back a bill with a real nice title that has “offshore production” in it if the vague language in the bill allows for no change from the status quo.

I do not condemn all the other 43 Republicans who did not vote No on both bills. No Senator deserves to be condemned for one vote only. I also do not highly praise the three Democrats who did vote No on both bills. A vote on only one vote wiil not trump a lot of bad votes they have made. Still, I do believe I should name names and list the seven US Senators who I do believe voted right.

representing South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint
representing Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby
representing Louisiana Sen. David Vitter
representing Utah Sen. Mike Lee
representing Alaska Sen. Mark Begich
representing Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson
representing Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu

pilgrim
I am retired after 36 years of being a state of Indiana employee. I enjoy writing and reading conservative blogs.

6 COMMENTS

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Pilgrim, actually section 2d is a good provision that improves current law which would otherwise allow longer judicial delays. Section e2 is a mixed bag, as under current law an oil company denied the right to drill would be allowed to enter new evidence at the district court level to overturn an ObamaDem administrator. But current law also allows environmentalists to use the right to a de novo trial to delay matters. Overall, I think those provisions are a net attempt to speed up the process.

    I certainly do not place McConnell anywhere near Obama re oil drilling due to those minor provisions. To the contrary, I think he is trying to get some progress with a bill Obama wouldn’t veto. But that was never gonna happen anyway.

    But the best part of the bill in that regard is another provision that requires those opposing decisions to allow drilling to challenge findings within 60 days or have that decision deemed presumptive. So overall, I certainly would have voted for the bill.

    The main goals I seek are:

    1) Get more drilling done now, even under Obama if we can, so long as we don’t give up more than small concessions that don’t much matter. These provisions fit that category in my opinion.

    2) Be able to make a stark contrast with Democrats for election purposes on oil drilling and given the small number of Repubs in the Senate that voted against it and that did not cost us the 60 votes, we still can.

    Do you know if the provisions that you and DeMint found troubling were in the House bill that passed?

    Also, I heard that Vitter’s vote and maybe others also related to their desire to have a provision like in Alaska that allows residents of Gulf state to share profits.

    We can’t make the perfect the enemy of the good and we do have to have some environmental review even when our guys can replace the zealots anti-capitalists in the Obama Admin. Yes, I would also favor a severely restrictive rule on judicial appeals, but the provisions you cite are better than current law which contain no admonitions for expedited review.

    The part that is more significant that what you have in bold is that the “administrative record” would be the final facts allowed. To present new facts, one would have to start all over at the admin level. That is a mixed bag depending on who won at the admin level.

    • I just have to disagree with you about not setting a finite date certain of ending any civil actions against oil production. You can try to tell me that the courts are going to be expeditious, and the law will make it quicker than the status quo, but it is not the same as a cutoff date for me. This kind of stuff as well as the stuff under subsection (e) are what prompted Sen. Shelby to vote No. Now Begich, Vitter, and Landrieu also voted No because there were no guarantees for a profit sharing with the states like they wanted. I do not want the perfect to be the enemy of the good, but I do want a bolder bill like the one passed by the House as Sen. Inhofe has called for than this one from McConnell. I wish they would choose Sen. DeMint as their leader, because Mitch just does not have the strength of conviction to suit me.

  2. Yes, I favor keeping the oil tax loopholes due to the high cost of exploration, so long as we aren’t getting rid of all corp subsidies and so long as enviro and other regs and laws restrict the areas open to oil drilling off the costs and on the land in the lower 48 incl in ANWR.

  3. I think Sen. Manchin’s rationale is misplaced:

    West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who often sides with Republicans on energy-related issues, said on the Senate floor Wednesday that he did not support the measure in part because he believed it could have the unintended consequence of causing fewer drilling applications to be approved, The Hill reported.

    “Quite simply, if we place a 30-day fix with two 15-day extensions, I believe we’d see more permits denied than we would see processed,” Manchin said, according to The Hill. “It would create a perverse effect that could encourage government bureaucrats to stop any and all permits, and that would be a terrible outcome.”

    Gamecock’s rebuttal:

    Yes, we might see more permits denied more quickly, but the status quo allows the Admin to drag out the process and deny there bias more easily and they certainly have been epic in their denials absent a 30-day/15-day rule. Look, with Obama’s people in charge of the process, its all damage control. At least with a quicker process we gather more evidence of their bias more quickly and would probably see more permits issues due to their inability to gather evidence against an influx of permit apps.

  1. Pilgrim, actually section 2d is a good provision that improves current law which would otherwise allow longer judicial delays. Section e2 is a mixed bag, as under current law an oil company denied the right to drill would be allowed to enter new evidence at the district court level to overturn an ObamaDem administrator. But current law also allows environmentalists to use the right to a de novo trial to delay matters. Overall, I think those provisions are a net attempt to speed up the process.

    I certainly do not place McConnell anywhere near Obama re oil drilling due to those minor provisions. To the contrary, I think he is trying to get some progress with a bill Obama wouldn’t veto. But that was never gonna happen anyway.

    But the best part of the bill in that regard is another provision that requires those opposing decisions to allow drilling to challenge findings within 60 days or have that decision deemed presumptive. So overall, I certainly would have voted for the bill.

    The main goals I seek are:

    1) Get more drilling done now, even under Obama if we can, so long as we don’t give up more than small concessions that don’t much matter. These provisions fit that category in my opinion.

    2) Be able to make a stark contrast with Democrats for election purposes on oil drilling and given the small number of Repubs in the Senate that voted against it and that did not cost us the 60 votes, we still can.

    Do you know if the provisions that you and DeMint found troubling were in the House bill that passed?

    Also, I heard that Vitter’s vote and maybe others also related to their desire to have a provision like in Alaska that allows residents of Gulf state to share profits.

    We can’t make the perfect the enemy of the good and we do have to have some environmental review even when our guys can replace the zealots anti-capitalists in the Obama Admin. Yes, I would also favor a severely restrictive rule on judicial appeals, but the provisions you cite are better than current law which contain no admonitions for expedited review.

    The part that is more significant that what you have in bold is that the “administrative record” would be the final facts allowed. To present new facts, one would have to start all over at the admin level. That is a mixed bag depending on who won at the admin level.

    • I just have to disagree with you about not setting a finite date certain of ending any civil actions against oil production. You can try to tell me that the courts are going to be expeditious, and the law will make it quicker than the status quo, but it is not the same as a cutoff date for me. This kind of stuff as well as the stuff under subsection (e) are what prompted Sen. Shelby to vote No. Now Begich, Vitter, and Landrieu also voted No because there were no guarantees for a profit sharing with the states like they wanted. I do not want the perfect to be the enemy of the good, but I do want a bolder bill like the one passed by the House as Sen. Inhofe has called for than this one from McConnell. I wish they would choose Sen. DeMint as their leader, because Mitch just does not have the strength of conviction to suit me.

  2. Yes, I favor keeping the oil tax loopholes due to the high cost of exploration, so long as we aren’t getting rid of all corp subsidies and so long as enviro and other regs and laws restrict the areas open to oil drilling off the costs and on the land in the lower 48 incl in ANWR.

  3. I think Sen. Manchin’s rationale is misplaced:

    West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who often sides with Republicans on energy-related issues, said on the Senate floor Wednesday that he did not support the measure in part because he believed it could have the unintended consequence of causing fewer drilling applications to be approved, The Hill reported.

    “Quite simply, if we place a 30-day fix with two 15-day extensions, I believe we’d see more permits denied than we would see processed,” Manchin said, according to The Hill. “It would create a perverse effect that could encourage government bureaucrats to stop any and all permits, and that would be a terrible outcome.”

    Gamecock’s rebuttal:

    Yes, we might see more permits denied more quickly, but the status quo allows the Admin to drag out the process and deny there bias more easily and they certainly have been epic in their denials absent a 30-day/15-day rule. Look, with Obama’s people in charge of the process, its all damage control. At least with a quicker process we gather more evidence of their bias more quickly and would probably see more permits issues due to their inability to gather evidence against an influx of permit apps.

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