Saturday, May 1, 2010

Is Obama Still Ready To "Drill, Baby, Drill"?

The dimensions of the catastrophe resulting from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are much greater than initially thought:

...Eight days after the first explosion on the rig, which left 11 workers missing and presumed dead, the tenor of the response team’s briefings changed abruptly Wednesday night with a hastily called news conference to announce that the rate of the spill was estimated to be 5,000 barrels a day, or more than 200,000 gallons — five times the previous estimate. By Thursday, it was apparent that the cleanup operation desperately needed help, with no indication that the well would be sealed any time soon and oil drifting closer to shore.

The disaster is leading some to question President Obama's decision to allow offshore drilling:

Opponents of President Obama’s plan to expand offshore drilling have also called for a halt. Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, called Thursday for a moratorium on all new offshore oil exploration while the cause of this rig explosion is under investigation. Mr. Nelson, a longtime opponent of oil drilling off the coasts of Florida, said in a letter to Mr. Obama that the spreading oil spill threatened environmental and economic disaster all along the Gulf Coast.

Obama hoped that by compromising on this issue, he would gain Republican support for a comprehensive climate and energy bill. Hoping for anything other than filibusters from today's Party of No is a dubious notion at best. One hopes that the president will recover his past opposition to this hazardous and ineffective practice. On September 15, 2005, he said the following:

“The days of running a 21st century economy on a 20th century fossil fuel are numbered – and we need to realize that before it’s too late. ...The truth is, an oil future is not a secure future for America. ...We could open up every square inch of America to drilling and we still wouldn’t even make a dent in our oil dependency.”


Michael, The Molar Maven said...

Is the Obama administration pandering a bit by allowing off-shore drilling? After all, to people who don't think past the tip of their noses, and that's exactly the target of "sound bite politics", drilling off-shore seems like a good idea. Why pay money to foreign countries that don't have share our interests, when we can keep the money here? Perhaps the silver lining to this oil spill disaster is that, once again, the environmental risks will be brought to the forefront and we will rethink the long term value to this short term solution to our energy issues.

Jeff Tone said...

Michael: I do believe that it is pandering, and I hope that this disaster will lead to a cessation of offshore drilling.