01.01.2009 0

Editorial: President Obama Right Not to Block Off-Shore Drilling

  • On: 01/23/2009 10:14:03
  • In: Energy Crisis, Global Warming Fraud, and the Environment
  • In allowing the Department of Interior to proceed with its “Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program 2010–2015,” the Obama Administration has moved a step in the right direction for American energy independence.

    Risks remain, however, that the Congressional majority will once again reinstate the bans on off-shore drilling and oil shale exploration—as did the House that just last year when it voted to seal off 80 percent of the outer-continental shelf. Already this year, in its just-passed lands bill, the Senate has voted to take more than 8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 300 million barrels of oil out of production in Wyoming. President Barack Obama will surely be tested on the issue of increased energy production. And whether he signs the $10 billion pork-laden Senate lands bill may be a good indicator as to whether he will, indeed, fight for energy independence. Or whether he will supinely accept serfdom to foreign powers determined to hold the nation hostage over a barrel of oil.

    Mr. Obama ought to weigh carefully both the policy—and political impact—of any decision to reinstate the executive ban on off-shore drilling, or sign into law bills that decrease oil, oil shale, natural gas, or coal production. Increased oil production can help keep gasoline prices down, which has been one of the few bright spots of the economy. Congressional Republicans ably exploited the issue last summer—their courage resulted in President George Bush rescinding the executive ban on drilling, and eventually forced Congress to cave in on the legislative ban that was allowed to expire on October 1st, 2008. Any moves by the Obama administration that subsequently lead to higher gasoline prices could become a political liability for the new Administration, and could play into his political adversaries’ hands come the 2010 Congressional midterms.

    To continue in the direction he has taken, however, Mr. Obama will have to keep his own Party at bay in Congress. To do so, he should strike an unlikely alliance with House Republicans and conservative Democrats to hold the line on increased energy production. The American people do not wish to return to $4 per gallon of gasoline, and now that he is President, Mr. Obama must consider the economic well-being of all Americans, and not just the narrow interests of radical environmentalists using questionable dogmas to promote an agenda that does not accommodate America’s power needs.

    The next step for the new President is to proceed with leasing on the outer-continental shelf and other key venues where oil and other fuels can be found. He must hold firm and refuse Congressional imprecations to reinstate the executive ban on drilling. And he must forcefully refuse to sign into law any legislative bans, including that contained in the Senate’s $10 billion lands bill. Mr. Obama has moved a step in the right direction, but he will need to back words with deeds to truly make much-needed gains towards American energy independence.


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