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Big Oil Causes Amnesia: Noem, GOP Forget Deficit Hawkery

Last updated on 2011.04.29

Last year's BP oil rig explosion and spill are still having numerous health, environmental, and economic impacts. Among the lesser known neurological impacts: political amnesia. It appears that Big Oil can cause Intern Kristi Noem and her Republican colleagues on the House Natural Resources Committee to forget that they want to fight the budget deficit.

On April 13, this committee was marking up three bills that would rush drilling permits, skip environmental analyses, and force drilling in ecologically sensitive areas. Congressman Edward Markey, Democrat from Massachusetts, at least tried to introduce some fiscal sensibility to the discussion. Noem and the GOP would have none of it:

The hearing also demonstrated that no matter how much the GOP might talk about reducing the deficit, it won't do so if such a move might harm Big Oil. Indeed, during the markup, Rep. Markey (D-MA) offered an amendment that would prevent the Secretary of the Interior from issuing new leases to the holders of 8 leases on which royalties were mistakenly revoked, unless they agree to pay royalties on these leases. By imposing proper royalty requirements on these leases, this amendment would produce $53 billion in royalties over the next 4 years, all of which would go to the U.S. Treasury to reduce our deficit. Despite the fact that curbing the deficit is one of the GOP's purported goals, not a single member of the Republican Party voted for the amendment. The message could not be more clear: when faced with a choice between helping Americans reduce our deficit and providing unnecessary assistance to the oil industry, these Members will choose their campaign contributors over our country [Elly Pepper, "Oil Spill Amnesia Bills Pass House Natural Resources Committee," Natural Resources Defense Council: Switchboard, 2011.04.19].

Ah, I see. Kristi Lynn Arnold Noem will swindle Americans out of Medicare and destroy Medicaid to reduce federal spending, but asking BP, Exxon, and the other oil corporations to pay their proper lease royalties is off Noem's budget table.

Ascribing this irresponsible lawmaking to amnesia is generous. Let us hope Noem and her colleagues recover in time for the floor vote in the House.

Update 12:31 CDT: The folks who consider themselves Intern Noem's BFFs are getting antsy, too. Bob Ellis calls Noem's farm subsidies unconstitutional and warns there could be a primary challenge if Noem keeps facilitating the GOP's "fiddling around with numbers games, compromises and half-measures." Noem's refusal to tackle the deficit in the Natural Resources Committee should only stoke Bob and Shad's disappointment further. Get ready for Gordon Howie for House in 2012!

Update 2011.04.29 08:49 CDT: One of Noem's biggest PAC donors in her spectacular first-quarter fundraising: Exxon Mobil PAC, $3,000.


  1. larry kurtz 2011.04.25

    I left another angry comment at Doc Blanchard's place as his red state choir was on full whine that went something like, "Whichever one of you bozos not making four times what you were making when gas was a buck is a poor excuse for a capitalist. Get out there, produce, and stfu. It ain't over; states should raises fuel taxes now." Oh yeah, that was it.

    Then, this came over the Buffalo Post feed: "Native American consumers are hit especially hard because so many reservations and Alaska villages are geographically isolated. Gas is always expensive – and when it creeps up across the country – well, the cost goes beyond reach."

    Sometimes, i'm just so wrong.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.04.25

    Dang, that's a good point: reservations are at an inherent disadvantage: bad job prospects on rez, long drive to get to better prospects.

  3. mike 2011.04.25

    There is already one Michelle Bachman. I don't think we need another Tea Party gal.

  4. mike 2011.04.26

    Tea Party activists who don't like Noem will either stay home in a tough election (2014 Senate SHS) from lack of motivation or will support a primary challenger. If she is to be challenged in a primary it would be best to wait until she runs for the Senate and it's a free for all (Rounds, Howie, Noem etc).

    No way a Tea Party candidate can defeat Noem in the primary in 2012. Maybe that is why she is raising so much money?

    Good for Ellis though to stand up for his ideals over party or candidate. Noem is not a conservative to the core. She is conservative enough to stay in office but she wouldn't risk speaking out against her leadership if it cost her the oppurtunity to move up the insider ladder.

  5. mike 2011.04.26

    Interesting little part of the Argus story: Democrats and tea party conservatives may find plenty on which to disagree with her, but that doesn't seem to bother her too much.

    When will we wake up and realize Noem used conservatives in the primary to get the nomination and then used them to get elected. She's not a Tea Partier and short of keeping us all blind so we vote for her she doesn't want anything to do with a Tea Party (other than votes).

  6. Douglas Wiken 2011.04.26

    Bill Maher has a good description of the TEA partiers...
    "Unwitting useful corporate tools"

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