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Archive for Thursday, April 1, 2010

Obama expands offshore drilling

April 1, 2010

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— Shaking up years of energy policy and his own environmental backers, President Barack Obama threw open a huge swath of East Coast waters and other protected areas in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico to drilling Wednesday, widening the politically explosive hunt for more homegrown oil and gas.

Obama’s move allows drilling from Delaware to central Florida, plus the northern waters of Alaska, and exploration could begin 50 miles off the coast of Virginia by 2012. He also wants Congress to lift a drilling ban in the oil-rich eastern Gulf of Mexico, 125 miles from Florida beaches.

Still off limits: the entire Pacific seaboard. And in a nod to conservation, Obama canceled oil exploration in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, deeming the area a national treasure.

For this oil-dependent nation, the decision could start to reshape far-reaching economic and national security policies, affecting where the U.S. gets the fuel for its cars, heating and energy-gulping industry.

For a president on a roll following a big health care win, Wednesday’s drilling declaration was both aggressive and pragmatic.

Even with a push for cleaner energy sources and efficient cars — and with promises of protection for ecosystems and coastal tourism — the nation still needs more oil, Obama said.

“The answer is not drilling everywhere all the time,” Obama said in an event at Andrews Air Force Base. “But the answer is not, also, for us to ignore the fact that we are going to need vital energy sources to maintain our economic growth and our security.”

Inside politically conscious Washington, Obama’s announcement was viewed, too, as a play to win Republican support for a comprehensive climate change bill. Obama needs GOP help to move legislation through the Senate that would limit carbon emissions, a key priority, and his decision on drilling drew at least a bit of Republican applause.

Republican George W. Bush pushed for years to expand offshore drilling. He and Congress lifted bans on some drilling in 2008, when gasoline prices hit record levels. But Obama’s plan is narrower than Bush’s, which also would have opened up oil and gas leasing areas off California and in the North Atlantic.

Obama got a predictable pummeling Wednesday from environmentalists, who sarcastically compared him to Sarah Palin, the former vice presidential candidate whose oil-promoting speech at the Republican National Convention in 2008 famously drew chants of “Drill, Baby, Drill!”

Any big changes to environmental policy — particularly oil drilling — tend to touch off the bitter debate that Obama says he wants the country to end.

His support for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska, for example, drew outrage from the Center for Biological Diversity as a threat to polar bears. “Short of sending Sarah Palin back to Alaska to personally club polar bears to death, the Obama administration could not have come up with a more efficient extinction plan for the polar bear,” said Brendan Cummings, the center’s senior counsel.

More broadly, the conservation group Oceana declared Obama was “unleashing a wholesale assault on the oceans.”

Comments

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

oil pollutes

oil controls our lives

oil reduces YOUR expendable cash

oil says take up walking,biking,ride the bus,ride the subway = save a ton of dough

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think_about_it 4 years ago

Anyone who believes one barrel of oil will be removed because of this proclamation is a fool. This is a ploy to trick people into thinking that he is trying to do something about the high price of gas coming this summer. Why do you think that he made it so nothing can move forward until 2012? What do you think Obama will do with this proclamation if re-elected in 2012? There will be no drilling.

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Tom Shewmon 4 years ago

I am starting to absolutely love Obama! I don't know what swept over me!

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jbiegs 4 years ago

I'm starting to like Obama more and more.

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Flap Doodle 4 years ago

Not really, read the fine print.

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republicanblack 4 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Richard Heckler 4 years ago

A new stronger economy could be well underway if the government wanted to make it happen. The tools and labor force are available NOW. This new economy would stimulate other new business not necessarily related to energy but related to the new money available as a result of the new economy.

Meanwhile how about food for thought:

Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy New UCS Analysis Download: Climate 2030 Blueprint Executive Summary (2009) Download the Climate 2030 Blueprint chapter by chapter.

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/big_picture_solutions/climate-2030-blueprint.html

Reducing oil dependence. Strengthening energy security. Creating jobs. Tackling global warming. Addressing air pollution. Improving our health. The United States has many reasons to make the transition to a clean energy economy.

What we need is a comprehensive set of smart policies to jump-start this transition without delay and maximize the benefits to our environment and economy. Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy (“the Blueprint”) answers that need.

To help avoid the most dangerous consequences of climate change, ranging from extreme heat, droughts, and storms to acidifying oceans and rising sea levels, the United States must play a lead role and begin to cut its heat-trapping emissions today—and aim for at least an 80 percent drop from 2005 levels by 2050.

Blueprint policies lower U.S. heat-trapping emissions to meet a cap set at 26 percent below 2005 levels in 2020, and 56 percent below 2005 levels in 2030.

================================================================= The nation achieves these deep cuts in carbon emissions while saving consumers and businesses $465 billion annually by 2030. The Blueprint also builds $1.7 trillion in net cumulative savings between 2010 and 2030. Blueprint policies stimulate significant consumer, business, and government investment in new technologies and measures by 2030. =================================================================

The resulting savings on energy bills from reductions in electricity and fuel use more than offset the costs of these additional investments. The result is net annual savings for households, vehicle owners, businesses, and industries of $255 billion by 2030. Under the Blueprint, every region of the country stands to save billions. Households and businesses—even in coal-dependent regions—will share in these savings.

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/big_picture_solutions/climate-2030-blueprint.html

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