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Tough Year to Oppose New Drilling

As the energy debate continues to bubble around the country, it appears more and more Democrats are abandoning their opposition to expanded offshore drilling for fear of getting caught on the wrong side of public sentiment in November. The latest to go: Colorado’s Mark Udall, a five-term Democrat who’s racing to fill the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Wayne Allard. From Politico:

Udall, one of the House’s preeminent environmentalists and the Democratic nominee in a closely contested Colorado Senate race, came out in favor of a bipartisan, comprehensive energy plan that would permit additional offshore drilling — a striking departure from his past opposition to such measures.

He also aired a television ad featuring oil workers on a derrick, with Udall saying, “We’ve got to produce our own oil and gas here in our country and keep it here to power America’s economy.”

And that’s fine that a guy wants to change his mind. Flip-flopping has adopted a bad name in Washington, but only a fool would stay on a path headed for a cliff. (That was the simple message John Kerry had so much trouble relaying four years ago.) What makes the drilling floppers different is the simple fact that, according to the Energy Dept., increased drilling will do nothing to bump domestic production or lower gas prices before 2030. That’s 22 years from now. Not that we’ll all be flying around Jetson-style on Arugula-powered hovercraft by then, but surely — for the environment, for the economy , for future generations — we could make a more dramatic move away from a short-sighted reliance on the finite goo pooled beneath our feet. If we wanted to.

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