Home > Uncategorized > Drill, Baby, Drill!

Drill, Baby, Drill!

cartoon from Davegranlund.com

Last week, President Obama infuriated environmental groups by proposing to overturn a standing ban on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, 167 million acres of ocean. The waters off the West Coast and in Alaska’s Bristol Bay are  not included. This piece of news is simply a puzzle piece the president is trying to wedge into the large climate change puzzle. Obama has stressed that his announcement is “part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy.” If he is ready to fight for this, I’d like to see this broader strategy.

This proposal has 3 purposes:

1) work towards energy independence (baby steps?)

2) create revenue by selling offshore leases

3) gain political support for energy & climate legislation (from undecided senators close to the oil industry)

Surveys indicate that more than 60% of Americans support offshore drilling. Even optimistic estimates of offshore oil supply are not impressive. Obama’s drilling proposal has been criticized by environmental groups for its negative environmental impact and groups like the Chamber of Commerce for not going far enough. I do not strongly support or oppose offshore drilling. However, I strongly believe in the need for a comprehensive climate change legislation passed by Congress ASAP, and if this will help that process, then so be it. This legislation is necessary not only to show much-needed global leadership in climate change, but also to take real steps towards a cleaner, greener future. America’s nonparticipation in Kyoto and lackluster performance at Copenhagen were embarrassing. If this really is a rung on a ladder of progress and not just another dead-end, I’ll gladly join in on the “Drill, Baby, Drill” chants.

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