Dear honorable governor and friend,
I'm writing to ask you to reconsider your opposition to lifting the ban on drilling off the coasts of the United States. Though, of course, the congressional ban can be rescinded independent of your voice, you're still a heavyweight in one of the largest coastal states in the nation. I agree with what you said this past week: "California's coastline is an international treasure." But it's also a national treasure that can help to remedy our gas crisis.
A recent Gallup Poll discovered that 57 percent of people are in favor of drilling for oil in coastal and wilderness areas that are presently off-limits. Unfortunately, you and Congress continue to refuse to represent that majority; and it's only going to grow.
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is from your state, said, "We cannot drill our way to energy independence." But I agree with Rush Limbaugh, who retorted: "Yes, the hell we can. It's that simple. And yes, the hell we should. It's that simple. Drill here. Drill now. Pay less. We're the United States of America. We can do it."
President Bush might not be the most popular politician at the moment, but he was right this past week when he said: "We should expand American oil production by increasing access to the Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS. Experts believe that the OCS could produce about 18 billion barrels of oil. That would be enough to match America's current oil production for almost 10 years."
What most Americans don't realize is that there is an enormous amount of natural gas offshore, too, and with those prices nearly doubling during the past year from roughly $6 to more than $12, we can take some action there, as well, before another winter arrives and our heating bills go through the roof.
Arnold, my hope is that you are not being muscled by environmental thugs when the majority of Americans need and are crying out for your representation, too. We must be willing to lay aside our partisan politics and do what's best for Americans. Now is not the time to cater to the coral-reef crowd, especially when drilling is much more environmentally safe than it was in 1981, when the ban to drill was enacted.
We must look firmly into the eyes of environmentalists and say, "We, too, care about our environment, but when our economy is being hit to this degree, we must drill now and drill responsibly." As Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne recently said to Glenn Beck, "We know how to do it with the greatest of environmental sensitivity, and we now need to say, 'Let's get going.'" And about the possibility of leakage from oil platforms, he replied: "We have 150 times more natural seepage than we get seepage from the oil and gas platforms. … What used to traditionally be 10 acres were wellhead, we're getting it down to now 1/2 an acre per wellhead because of directional drilling, which we've learned to do from the offshore activities. You can go down and go in any direction up to 10 miles underground and tap the reserves." David Sandalow, an energy expert at The Brookings Institution, said the environmental risks of oil spillage are so minimal that "it's like walking an extra 20 feet a day to lose weight; it's just not enough to make a difference."
Most of us are beginning to turn green over the green barrier to remedy our energy crisis and soaring gas prices. And that's OK. It's time for a little righteous anger. We need to say, as Bill Bixby used to say and your fellow muscleman Lou Ferrigno played out in "The Incredible Hulk": "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." Even better, each of us needs to declare that famous "Network" line, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Or maybe it's just high time we all stood up and said, once and for all, to oil dependency and high fuel prices, "Hasta la vista, baby."
It is time to terminate the 1981 congressional moratorium against drilling within 200 miles of our coasts. That restriction might have worked during a time of energy abundance, gasoline being roughly $1 a gallon, and pre-9/11 terrorism, but it is obsolete today and actually counterproductive. We also need to develop oil shale resources, open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, expand domestic oil-refining capacity, and fight now to produce alternative forms of energy.
Arnold, I invite you and the rest of the nation to join me, Newt Gingrich and more than 1 million other Americans in signing the petition to Congress to drill here and drill now (www.AmericanSolutions.com). The petition is pressing on toward the goal of 2-3 million signatures by the time of the national conventions. We must keep momentum moving, and we need your help.
Your and America's friend,