As we all know, this morning President Obama announced plans to lift a 20 year ban on offshore drilling. Executive Director of the Sierra Club Michael Brune put it best when he said,
“Drilling our coasts will doing nothing to lower gas prices or create energy independence. It will only jeopardize beaches, marine life, and coastal tourist economies, all so the oil industry can make a short-term profit.” And that's the double truth, Ruth!
The eastern Gulf of Mexico is believed to be the richest tract opened up by this plan. Experts estimate that it could contain up to 3.5 billion barrels of oil, that sounds like a big number, but the U.S. consumes 20 million barrels of oil each day, so their richest tract could supply us for only 175 days. Experts, also agree that it will take a number of years to even commence production. So instead of investing in clean energy alternatives, we will spend a number of years throwing money at a fossil fuel that cannot meet our long term energy needs. This policy shift simply underscores our movement towards comprehensive energy and climate legislation that will create competitive jobs and fuel the economy of the 21st century.
Pundit's seem to think this move will draw Republican support for climate and energy legislation, but really it looks like the President is giving away the bank. In the last 3 months the President has announced loans for nuclear power plants, opened off shore drilling, and mentioned "clean coal" investments in the State of the Union. Still, Republicans like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner complain that it's not enough. If the Democrats throw away their bargaining chips before the bill is released how will they form a compromise? The answer, they'll give more away... and eventually the legislation will be so watered down that they'll also lose the support of environmentalists.
On the brighter side Governor Perdue spoke with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and mentioned, "It is vital that we maintain our ability to explore all options for energy production on our coast, including green opportunities such as wind power." Unfortunately this announcement wasn't about wind, it was about oil, and it seems that this administration has forgotten that "Drill Baby Drill" was a slogan not a policy.