• News
  • Celebrities
  • Finance
  • Crypto
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Health
  • Others

Democrats Cave on Offshore Drilling

Drilling2.jpg
Drilling2.jpg

After months spent vowing to protect the nation’s coastlines from new offshore oil drilling, House Democrats yesterday caved to the White House over the thorny issue, saying they will allow a 26-year-old ban on new exploration to expire.

If it stands, the move will permit oil companies to drill beyond three miles from both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts — a far larger area than allowed under a Democratic proposal that passed the House last week. That bill would have prevented new drilling up to 50 miles from shore, but Democratic leaders, anxious to get out of town for the election season, abandoned their fight to avoid a budget battle with the White House — which threatened to veto the legislation.

Congress_6811.jpg
Congress_6811.jpg

Illustration by: Matt Mahurin

“At least temporarily, the moratorium is lifted,’” Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, told reporters late Tuesday. “This next election will decide what our drilling policy is going to be.”

Politically speaking, the timing was genius. Most of Tuesday was engulfed by debate over the nation’s financial meltdown, with most of the media’s attention focused on a joint Capitol Hill appearance by Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson Jr. and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. At the tail end of the tempest, Obey’s office informed reporters at 5:01 p.m. that the appropriations chairman would hold his brief press conference 14 minutes later.

House Republicans — who had spent much of August demanding a vote on a drilling expansion — were quick to declare victory. A statement released last night by the Republican Study Committee, headed by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), proclaims: “GOP Secures American Energy Development.”

More accurately, it was public sentiment that caused the Democrats’ reversal. With gas prices topping $4 per gallon over the summer, polls began to show that voters support new drilling by increasingly large margins. Their reasoning was flawed: The Bush administration’s own Energy Dept. has concluded that expanded drilling will have no significant effect on fuel prices before 2030. But Democrats were never successful in selling that message to voters.

“The public has simply not been made aware of the reality,” said David Jenkins, government affairs director of Republicans for Environmental Protection.

The development is bad news for environmentalists, who lobbied all year to keep the moratorium in place. Aside from the environmental dangers, they argue, increased drilling only heightens the nation’s fossil-fuel addiction, accelerating global warming and fostering a reliance on foreign oil. Some blasted the Democrats for dropping the fight.

“It’s just bad policy,” said Nick Berning, spokesman for Friends of the Earth. “The Democrats caved on this.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.), hoping to protect roughly 840 miles of California coastline, vowed to return to the battle next year. “I think it’s awful,” Feinstein said in a statement. “We will come back and fight another day — that’s for sure.”

The Sierra Club had pounced on Republicans for their insistence that the drilling ban be lifted, accusing the GOP of “opposing clean energy and being in the pocket of Big Oil.” The group went much softer on the Democrats for lifting the moratorium. Following Obey’s announcement, the group issued a bland statement placing its hopes in reinstating the ban next year.

“We do not expect that this is the end of the moratorium that has protected our coasts since 1981,” the group said. “The moratorium could very well be restored by a new Congress and president who understand that more offshore drilling will do nothing to lower gas prices or solve our energy crisis.”

Daniel Becker, a former Sierra Club official who is now director of the Safe Climate Campaign, agreed, pointing out that the few months before the next administration arrives is too short a span for companies to begin drilling. “I don’t think it’s going to do real damage,” he said.

Two separate moratoriums — rooted in environmental and tourism concerns — have prevented new offshore oil exploration for decades: one stemming from the White House and the other from Congress. President George W. Bush lifted his ban in July; the congressional ban, usually renewed annually in spending bills, expires Oct. 1.

The issue has posed difficulties for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.), a long-time opponent of new offshore drilling who, fearing a November backlash, reversed course when public opinion did. “They’re going to do what’s necessary to win in November,” Jenkins said. “That’s just the political reality.”

Pelosi’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Last week, Pelosi pushed through a proposal allowing state-approved drilling between 50 and 100 miles offshore, and all drilling beyond 100 miles. The bill was largely a political ploy: The Energy Dept. has determined that most of the country’s untouchable offshore oil — estimated at nearly 18 billion barrels — rests much closer to shore than the Democratic plan would have allowed. Indeed, most Republicans opposed the legislation.

The recent Democratic move, however, has brought only cheers from across the aisle. That, too, was a political calculation made with November in mind.

“It’s very hard for Republicans to attack Democrats,” Becker said, “for blocking something they’re not blocking.”

Discussion & Comments (0)

    Recent Articles

    • Things You Should Know about North America

      Things You Should Know about North America

      Get to know more about North America.

    • Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Paula Seling's experience on the Eurovision stage led her to declare that "Eurovision is an unpredictable contest". Which may explain the success of the young Lena from Germany, about whom the predictions before the event did not offer much chances for victory.

    • VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      Have you ever contemplated creating a user-friendly site dedicated to sports-related free live streaming channels?

    • Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia users are able to watch thousands of videos and other contents online. XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia New is a piece of software that enables people to watch videos online without having to pay for memberships. On a graphics card, the XNXubd also provides some of the best gaming and virtual reality experiences.

    • Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      A new edition of the Video Editor Apk for xVideostudio.Video Studio has all the latest features, including support for multiple video download formats in HD, FHD, and even 4K resolutions.

    • 9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      Masturbation is a common activity for men and women. It's a natural and risk-free way to explore your body, experience pleasure, and release sexual tension.

    • Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Without having to sign up or pay anything, you can watch movies online for free with SFlix. It has more than 10,000 movies and television shows.

    • Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Collins (born May 11, 1997) is a rapper from the United States. Leray started publishing songs to SoundCloud in 2014, and in 2018 she released her breakthrough track "Huddy" as well as her first mixtape, Everythingcoz.

    • Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Are you in a bind and looking for a place to obtain free mp3 songs? Never again will you need to bother, since this article has everything necessary to obtain your solution. Download free music from MyfreeMP3.com, one of the world's most popular websites.