Obama admin set to propose expanding offshore drilling (UPDATE 2)

Posted by: ST on March 31, 2010 at 8:07 am

Update 2 – 10:35 AM: Jon Sanders wonders: Is this really a concession?

Update 1 – 9:45 AM: According to this AP article, this is technically not a proposal but rather a policy shift and therefore will not be voted on by Congress. Still, the same rule for me applies: If this policy change is being done to win over the votes of moderates in the House and Senate on cap and tax, then I don’t support it. Moe Lane has more, and is highly skeptical as well.


The NYT reports on news that will surprise both conservatives and liberals alike:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.

The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.

Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.

The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska — nearly 130 million acres — would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies.

The proposal is to be announced by President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Wednesday, but administration officials agreed to preview the details on the condition that they not be identified.

The proposal is intended to reduce dependence on oil imports, generate revenue from the sale of offshore leases and help win political support for comprehensive energy and climate legislation.

Uh – with an emphasis on that last part. The upcoming cap and tax battle is close at hand, and with this being an election year, Obama and Democrat mis”leaders” in the House and Senate don’t want the political headaches and nightmares that came with the drawn out process of them trying to shove the trillion dollar ObamaCare “reform” plan down the throats of the American people, so they’re throwing a bone to “moderate” Republican and Democrat Senators and House reps in hopes of avoiding a prolonged battle and winning their votes on cap and tax. But will it work? More from the NYT:

But while Mr. Obama has staked out middle ground on other environmental matters — supporting nuclear power, for example — the sheer breadth of the offshore drilling decision will take some of his supporters aback. And it is no sure thing that it will win support for a climate bill from undecided senators close to the oil industry, like Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, or Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana.


But even as Mr. Obama curries favors with pro-drilling interests, he risks a backlash from some coastal governors, senators and environmental advocates, who say that the relatively small amounts of oil to be gained in the offshore areas are not worth the environmental risks.


The eastern Gulf of Mexico tract that would be offered for lease is adjacent to an area that already contains thousands of wells and hundreds of drilling platforms. The eastern Gulf area is believed to contain as much as 3.5 billion barrels of oil and 17 trillion cubic feet of gas, the richest single tract that would be open to drilling under the Obama plan.

Drilling there has been strongly opposed by officials from both political parties in Alabama and Florida who fear damage to coastlines, fisheries, popular beaches and wildlife. Interior Department officials said no wells would be allowed within 125 miles of the Florida and Alabama coasts, making them invisible from shore.

Hmmm. Of course most of us like the prospect of expanding offshore drilling, but at the same time this concession could successfully end up buying the “yea” votes of moderates in the House and Senate on cap and tax, so count me out on supporting the administration’s soon-to-be-officially-announced position on offshore drilling just yet. We’re already getting ready to get hit with tax and premium increases across the board as a result of this administration’s radical agenda on healthcare, so if voting “yea” to expanding offshore drilling ends up being a means to an end on cap and tax for Obama and House and Senate Dems, no thanks.

What do you think?

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  • 15 Responses to “Obama admin set to propose expanding offshore drilling (UPDATE 2)”


    1. It’s just more political maneuvering. When it comes up for a vote, it will be a package deal. If you pass Cap and Trade, you get the off-shore drilling in the bargain. So naturally, if the GOP opposes it, then they’ll be blamed for opposing energy independence and limiting oil and energy supplies.

    2. Ken says:

      Bottom line, the Republicans know that the Dems and Obama are going to have to shift some to the center on something prior to next November, otherwise they’ll be throttled in the elections.
      This will be the mode of ops by the administration and their sycophant media from now till November. It’ll be Alinsky tactics on steroids.
      Remember in November.

    3. Neo says:

      Don Surber just couldn’t resist the Sara Palin “I told you so” and even brought out the Obama tire gauge.

    4. Sean says:

      What would the “Green Jobs Czar” think? Excuse me if, like you, I am highly skeptical. Even if this is a ploy to get moderate votes on Cap and Tax, there’s nothing to prevent either a later policy reversal or so much bureaucratic re-tape as to make it completely unfeasible for the oil companies.

      I won’t be able to take this one to heart until I see those nuclear power facilities he promised actually on-line.

    5. MarkJ says:

      According to this AP article, this is technically not a proposal but rather a policy shift and therefore will not be voted on by Congress.

      End-runs around Congress, how typical..how Obamian. Pity the poor Democrats: Obama is raping them on a daily basis and all they can do is thank him for “at least using lubricant.”

    6. bill glass says:

      That this is total bull crap shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Don’t bite!

    7. Tango says:

      …I am almighty skeptical. And I note that there’s nothing for the (totally bankrupt) state of California in this deal. Look, the location of offshore CA oil traps is already known. Why wouldn’t they include them if this REALLY IS about ramping up oil production and lessening our dependency on foreign oil?

      I smell a rat – :-w

    8. Sanddog says:

      “extensive studies” is code for: Ain’t gonna happen.

    9. Carlos says:

      It doesn’t matter how many exec orders Duh-1 signs or how many laws Congress passes – the envirowhackos will have this so tied up in courts throughout the nation that none of it will happen before the next millenium. That’s not only because of the envirowhackos but because of the judicial whackos, too.

      And, as noted, since the left coast is so much in the tank for any jackass breathing, why should they give us a break, from San D. to Anacortes?

      He is a lying, conniving, thieving, thuggish piece of pig poop that belongs where he came from, not in MY White House.

    10. Neil McKenna says:

      What do I think? I think Obama could declare himself a Republican, replace his entire cabinet with the Fox News staff, and campaign for the election of a Republican Congress; and conservatives would treat it as nothing more than a ploy to saddle them with responsibility for the still struggling economy.

      Fact is that this guy is nowhere near the far left wing radical that conservatives portray him to be. From incorporating Republican ideas into the health care bill, to endorsing conservative ideas in education like merit pay and teacher accountability, to acknowledging the possible merit of tort reform (I don’t see the absence of meaningful tort reform in the bill as reflecting Obama hypocricy so much as his inability to control a Democratic Congress for whom this and other meritorious conservative ideas are anathema), to this most recent indication that he is not averse to Republican ideas – when they are good ideas – every indication that he wants to work with Republicans is rejected out of hand.

    11. bill glass says:

      Well, that convinced me!

    12. Carlos says:

      Yep, Neil, now every single conservative can vote for Cap and Tax with a clear conscience because they know they’ve got 100% support from our dear and glorious leader.

      And shoot, that health care thing was simply a ploy to throw those rascally radical donks running Congress off so they wouldn’t suspect a thing.


    13. Sefton says:

      Fact is that this guy is nowhere near the far left wing radical that conservatives portray him to be.

      Facts are something the left doesn’t deal with well. No one has to “portray” him that way – his history, associations and rhetoric over the years epitomize the “quacks like a duck” analogy of his hard left politics. Only someone who refuses to see it can make your statement.
      Incorporating Republican ideas into the health care bill can be summed up in your next “conservative idea” of merit pay and teacher accountability – isn’t that more common sense ideas? You’re saying the left is averse to merit pay and teacher accountability? So the common sense negotiating is now a bipartisan gimme from Obama and Pelosi. The king has seen to it that we peasants can have the crumbs. What a guy.
      This most recent statement on opening up oil exploration on the east coast is only that – opening up exploration; when known reserves are cataloged off California, Alaska and the Gulf, as well as inland deposits. Not to mention it was Obama who, once taking office, reversed a Bush proposal for expanded offshore drilling. He obviously didn’t like that “Republican idea” then, but now he’s open for exploratory studies? I’ll stick with Carlos’ depiction of the man. He’s proven it often enough.

    14. Great White Rat says:

      I think Obama could declare himself a Republican,

      Oh, be serious, Neil. George Soros would never permit that.

      this guy is nowhere near the far left wing radical that conservatives portray him to be.

      Riiiight. It’s just an accident that he spent 20 years listening to an anti-American, anti-Semitic racist radical like Jerry Wright. And sought out homicidal radical Billy Ayers to help launch his political career. And hired 9-11 Truthers and devotees of Chairman Mao for his staff. And speaking of Mao, hanging an ornament with his image on it on the White House Christmas tree is just the sort of thing you’d expect from any middle-of-the-road moderate Democrat, isn’t it?

      Neil, you can continue to judge him by his speeches and promises, most of which we’ve seen come with an expiration date (unless they’re outright lies). We prefer to judge him by what he does.

      And based on his track record, what he does best is dissemble. He is, after all, a Chicago machine thug at his core.

      There’s a very simple reason he’s making these noises about drilling for badly-needed oil. He’s going to hold that out as inducement for supporting the next step in his great plan to turn America into a third-world hellhole. Sorry, Neil, you may be as gullible and unenlightened as, say, Bart Stupak, but the rest of us can see through him by now. It’s just a proposal, which means it’ll never happen (Sanddog is correct). And even if Obama did take some timid steps toward implementing such a plan, he knows full well that his extremist environmental friends would be in court filing endless lawsuits within minutes, at which point he’d shrug and say, “Oh well, I tried.”. And that might fool Neil, but not anyone with a minute’s worth of experience watching dishonest politicians at work.