Richard Pombo's Nose Is Getting Longer And Longer
Richard Pombo has a new anti-McNerney message, this one a coordinated mailer/radio ad attack. You can listen to the radio ad here. And this is the mailer that goes along with it:
Well, if you’ve been reading SayNoToPombo for any time at all, you are undoubtedly familiar with “Grandma Pombo,” who instilled in her family a tradition of playing fast and loose with the truth:
I have a Portuguese grandmother who used to say, "Never let the facts get in the way of a good story."So, in an effort to try to keep Richard Pombo honest (I know, it’s haaard work), here are the facts behind his most recent attacks on Jerry McNerney.
The first part of his attack is actually based in a tiny shred of truth. In 1998-99, the Clinton Administration renegotiated a series of existing leases for offshore oil drilling. Here’s how Truthout.org explains it:
The Interior Department omitted language in the 1998-99 leases that would have required royalty payments on oil and gas if prices reached a certain level. Since then, oil and gas prices have soared well beyond the trigger, but oil companies are not required to pay royalties because of the omitted language. Some congressional estimates have put the loss to the government at up to $10 billion over the life of the leases.Leases up through 1997, and then starting again in 2000, had the correct royalty language inserted in them. But basically, through what appears to have been a clerical error during the Clinton Administration, no trigger was set for royalty payments for leases negotiated during those two years, 1998-99, and the big oil companies suddenly found themselves the beneficiaries of a major loophole.
Congress set to work to close that loophole. Rep. Edward Markey (MA-07), a Democrat, proposed straightforward legislation that would have simply forced the oil companies to renegotiate their leases. Big oil squealed and went running to their favorite lackey, Richard Pombo. Pombo, always eager to do the bidding of his corporate masters, came up with a plan that would reward the oil companies for renegotiating the leases by opening up coastal areas that had been off-limits to drilling for more than a quarter of a century. In exchange for paying $10 billion in increased royalties, the oil companies would be granted access to previously protected American coasts with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil. [Note: And if you wonder how $10 billion suddenly turned into $13 billion, I’d suggest that you consult with Grandma Pombo.]
Of course, in order to garner enough votes to pass his big oil bill, Pombo had to sweeten the pot to draw in Congress members who had historically been opposed to offshore drilling. Pombo’s legislation proposed a sweeping diversion of oil lease royalties from the federal government to the oil-drilling states — all four of them. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama would be the big winners, and Democrats from those four states greedily supported Pombo's bill, giving it a thin veneer of bipartisanship. Even Pombo’s good buddy, George W. Bush, was taken aback:
The vote came even after the White House surprised the bill's supporters by estimating that the measure's royalty terms would divert "several hundred billion dollars" away from the federal treasury over the next 60 years.Meanwhile, Democrat Markey was indignant:
“We should not be holding the solution to the royalty relief problem hostage to opening all of our coastal areas to drilling and diverting billions of dollars of revenue away from the treasury,” Markey concluded. “We need to put an end to taxpayer-subsidized, royalty-free drilling on public land when the price of oil is $70 per barrel. Subsidizing oil companies to drill at these prices is like subsidizing fish to swim – it just doesn’t make sense.”Needless to say most Democrats (I guess those are Jerry McNerney’s “cronies” in the House) voted against Pombo’s plan to lift the moratorium against offshore drilling, which Pombo insisted on linking to renegotiation of the oil leases.
The House voted overwhelmingly last month to fix this problem without strings attached, and it is completely wrong for the Republicans to now use fixing these leases as a pretext for taking away the protections for our coasts. Congress needs to demand that the oil companies start paying the American people a fair price to drill on the public’s lands. I urge adoption of the Markey amendment so that we can stop this cynical Republican attempt to reclaim one giveaway to big oil while handing out another.
So got it? Pombo stopped a Democratic attempt to just renegotiate the oil leases, instead demanding that any changes in the existing leases be conditioned upon passage of his Deep Ocean Energy Resources (DOER) Act, H.R. 4761, lifting the 25-year-old offshore drilling moratorium.
And just remember, in the future, if you ever find yourself confused by Richard Pombo’s tall tales, all you really need to do is stop and think for a minute about who pays for all his expensive campaign materials. Grandma Pombo would be proud.