Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bush to urge Congress to allow offshore drilling

WASHINGTON - President Bush plans to make a renewed push Wednesday to get Congress to end a long-standing ban on offshore oil and gas drilling, echoing a call by GOP presidential candidate John McCain.

Congressional Democrats have opposed lifting the prohibitions on energy development on nearly all federal Outer Continental Shelf waters for more than a quarter-century, including waters along both the East and West coasts.

With oil prices soaring and motorists paying $4 a gallon for gasoline, political pressures have been growing for more domestic oil and gas production.

"The president believes Congress shouldn't waste any more time," White House press secretary Dana Perino told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

"He will explicitly call on Congress to ... pass legislation lifting the congressional ban on safe, environmentally friendly offshore oil drilling," Perino said. "He wants to work with states to determine where offshore drilling should occur."

Bush also will reiterate his call for development of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, Perino said. McCain has opposed drilling in the refuge, maintaining that the pristine areas in northeastern Alaska should be protected from energy development.

On Monday, McCain made lifting the federal ban on offshore oil and gas development a key part of his energy plan. The Arizona senator said states should be allowed to pursue energy exploration in waters near their coasts and receive some of the royalty revenue.

Bush has made clear in recent weeks that the drilling moratorium in coastal waters should end to allow for more domestic oil production and help "take the pressure off the price of gasoline."

Democrats, as well as some Republican senators from coastal states, have opposed lifting the drilling prohibitions, fearful that energy development could harm tourism and raise the risk of oil spills on beaches.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate for president, opposes lifting the ban on offshore drilling and says that allowing exploration now wouldn't affect gasoline prices for at least five years.

Congress imposed the drilling moratorium in 1981 and has extended it each year since by prohibiting the Interior Department from spending money on offshore oil or gas leases in virtually all coastal waters outside the western Gulf of Mexico and in some areas off Alaska.

President George H.W. Bush imposed a separate executive drilling ban in 1990, which was extended by President Clinton and then by the current president until 2012.

Bush has been considering lifting the executive ban as a symbolic move to get Congress to take action, but he decided against doing so for the time being, said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because internal deliberations were involved.

The House Appropriations Committee was scheduled to vote on legislation Wednesday that included a provision that would continue the drilling moratorium into late 2009. Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., planned to try to strip that provision from the bill. A proposal Peterson offered last week that would open all federal waters 50 miles from shore to oil and gas development was rejected by an Appropriations subcommittee on a 9-6 party-line vote.

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 20 minutes ago


Ricky said...

Drilling in a wildlife refuge? We have not reached that level of desperation yet. Vote it down. Offshore U.S. coastline, okay. You have to keep in mind that carbon based fuels will not be phased out completely for another several decades. I could care less about the gas prices not being affected for another five years, Obama's "expert" opinion. What I care about is doing something NOW to decrease our dependency on oil from the Middle East and Venezuela (as long as Chavez is in office). Obama says, nope, let's ignore something that will boost global security until alt energy becomes mainstream several years from now. Producing our own oil will limit warfare and free up money for the economy, not to mention... more jobs. McCain is pushing for ALL energy options while at the same time has an intermediate plan that will improve foreign relations, America's image, and save Americans dollars.

Kevin Otway said...

Ricky, I don't know what to say, except that this is another "political bandage gimmick". I don't like doing things half-assed. If something is broken and needs fixing, lets fix it and be done with it. Not by doing a bunch of stop-gap measures -- it's a nuisance. Either way, I will not dispute the claims on the benefits you stated. What I take issue with is the lack of discipline in this approach. Think of it in terms of diet & exercise. Why aren't there more overweight people on diets or at the gymn? Because there are other things like gastric bypass, etc. Oil is to Gastric Bypass what Energy Independence is to Dieting. There's a quote that says "No Pain, No Gain and I think it applies.

Kevin Otway said...

Oops! I messed up the logic at the end. I meant: Oil is to Energy Independence what Gastric Bypass is to Dieting.

Ricky said...

The world cannot quit oil cold turkey. True? True. What I call a half-assed plan is somebody who fails to realize that, and sets goals for far in the future but makes no concessions for the growing phase of alternative energy technology. If you actually listen to the candidates and stop listening to the media, McCain has the step by step plan to move alt energy to the next level to the next level an realistically it involves a bit of oil. Not a political bandage gimmick, a reality. It WILL NOT happen overnight. America does not have that kind of money. You set milestones and carry through. Any dieting expert will say that crash diets all fail.

Kevin Otway said...

Ricky, we are now talking past each other. First, I didn't say we're going to quit oil altogether. Although it is already possible; it's just too costly to undertake -- as you stated. And we cannot bankroll it to happen overnight. It will take time. Second, the presidential candidates are a minor factor in all of this. Much of the movement is occurring on the consumer level. People are demanding changes and companies are finding much business opportunities in this realm. This is happening with even GW presiding -- who can arguably be called "anti-green". Most people give the office of the president more credit on running the economy than they actually can control. That's why I said they are a somewhat minor consideration. So, I'm not focusing solely on their policy proposals. There is a 9 variable equation, of which they are only one. Thirdly, a crash diet is bad and we (USA) are not on one in that regard -- but it can happen. I think an important distinction to make is that I'm in the industry and am much more aware of what's going on on many levels than you can sense. Partly because you are outconus... yada, yada, yada... But remember, I interact with the everyday people and have seen them change in real time. I've seen people change from asking about my services just doing research in the majority to it balancing out with equal inquiries and asking for the service to where they are now asking more about getting the service. The average American cannot see something like this because they aren't in the thick of things -- they're just busy living their lives. As one prospect said, everyday Americans are too busy with their noses to the grindstone to take a break and look ahead and see what is happening. I remember telling someone about this a few days ago... That people are now calling saying they are ready to install solar, etc. REMEMBER TO KEEP ONE THING IN MIND: THIS IS BIGGER THAN PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS.
By the way, here is something I posted on someone's blog http://sophisticatedfinance.typepad.com/sophisticated_finance/2008/06/audacious-goals.html#comments:

Here is how Energy Independence will occur (in no particular order):

1)Fuel Cell/Hydrogen (Think Honda)
2)Hybrid Technology (Not just the Prius)
3)Cellulosic Ethanol (NOT feed stock)
5)Energy Efficiency (Demand Side Mgmt)
6)Energy Conservation (Supply Side Mgmt)
7-10)Renewable Energy (Supply Side Mgmt): Wind, Solar, Geothermal, Hydro Energy, etc.

This is already happening. Energy Independence is already being achieved!!!

Stand By For Heavy Rolls...!!!