Heritage Says Drill; Salazar Says Not So Fast
This morning, the conservative Heritage Foundation rolled out an energy proposal to reduce American dependence on foreign oil, arguing that “the jobs created by a reinvigorated domestic energy industry would be well-paying and long-term and funded … by the private sector.”
Sound like President Obama’s green jobs plan? Try crude-oil black. Heritage was making the case for expanded offshore drilling:
[President Bush's decision to allow drilling restrictions to expire] sets out a sensible plan for moving expeditiously but not recklessly toward leasing new areas, including some in the Pacific, Atlantic, offshore Alaska, and the Gulf of Mexico. … Unfortunately, some in Congress have suggested that they may re-impose all or part of the moratorium, and past statements suggest that President Obama may want to do the same. Further, even without a change in the law, new Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has the discretion to issue just a relative handful of new leases or simply drag out the leasing process indefinitely.
Speak of the devil. Just as this piece came out, Salazar announced that he was putting offshore drilling on hold for 180 days, to allow his department to review its energy policy.
Although he called Bush’s plan “a headlong rush of the worst kind,” Salazar did not say definitively whether the Obama administration planned to renew the three-decade-old moratorium on drilling along most of the country’s coastline.
During the campaign, Obama at first opposed offshore drilling but then embraced it as part of a broader energy solution when the public overwhelmingly supported it amid record-high gas prices. Now, with the price of oil at less than a third of its peak and green energy at the forefront of his economic plan, it remains to be seen whether he resumes his initial stance on drilling.