On Tuesday, Senator John McCain reversed a long-held position and endorsed lifting a 27-year moratorium on off-shore oil drilling, much to the consternation of environmental groups he seemed to be courting. On Wednesday President Bush joined him, asking Congress to end the federal ban and arguing that this and other steps would lower gas prices and strengthen national security. Democrats, including Senator Barack Obama, have denounced the plan, collectively calling it a flip-flopping political ploy that offers no real solution, will not lower energy prices, and represents another handout to Big Oil.
Here are a few highlights, from . . .
The New York Times:
“I know the Democratic leaders have opposed some of these policies in the past,” Mr. Bush said. “Now that their opposition has helped drive gas prices to record levels, I ask them to reconsider their positions.”
The Boston Globe**:
“This is not something that’s going to give consumers short-term relief and it is not a long-term solution to our problems with fossil fuels generally and oil in particular,” Obama said. The Democratic presidential candidate instead has proposed a windfall profits tax on oil companies and has encouraged massive investment in renewable sources of energy.
The New York Times, again**:
The National Petroleum Council estimates that beneath the Gulf of Mexico’s eastern edge, there might be 36.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 5.2 billion barrels of oil — numbers that would require extensive exploration to verify. . . .
A 2007 Department of Energy study found that access to coastal energy deposits would not add to domestic crude oil and natural gas production before 2030 and that the impact on prices would be “insignificant.”
The nation’s anger over $4 gasoline is producing political theatrics at the White House, in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail. Republicans are demanding new drilling off the nation’s beaches. Democrats want to tax away oil companies’ profits.
But none of the proposals has much chance of becoming law, and motorists would feel little or no relief if they did._
Care to chime in?