George W. Bush is doing an about face on a longstanding position on offshore drilling, and is calling on Congress today “to end a federal ban on offshore oil drilling, according to White House officials who say Mr. Bush now wants to work with states to determine where drilling should occur.”
The NY Times reports that the “move underscores how $4-a-gallon gas has become a major issue in the 2008 presidential campaign, and it comes as a growing number of Republicans are lining up in opposition to the federal ban.”
The Republican party’s presumptive presidential nominee, “Senator John McCain of Arizona, used a speech in Houston on Tuesday to say he now favors offshore drilling, an announcement that infuriated environmentalists who have long viewed him as an ally.” And Florida’s governor, Charlie Crist, chimed in immediately backing up John McCain, saying he also “now wants an end to the ban.”
Sen. John Kerry, an opponent of offshore drilling, responded to Bush’s comments on offshore drilling this morning:
“Today President Bush dusted off the worst of the Cheney special interest giveaways that have created record profits for big oil and a 250% increase in gas prices for consumers these last seven years. Selling off our nation’s coastlines to the oil and gas companies won’t make a dent in gas prices. If you started drilling tomorrow, you wouldn’t even see a drop of oil until 2017. President Bush and his new ally John McCain should use a little straight talk and explain why we’re even having this debate when the oil industry has 68 million acres available today that they aren’t developing. This is a fraud of a policy and a false choice. Rather than doing the bidding of the oil companies, we need a serious long-term energy strategy that reduces our dependence on oil and promotes affordable clean energy sources to address the urgent threat of climate change and help consumers.”
Senator Harry Reid also chimed in saying, “The Energy Information Administration says that even if we open the coasts to oil drilling that won’t have a significant impact on prices.”
Offshore drilling is not the answer to the rising oil/gas prices. This bid by the Bush administration is just another bid to line Big Oil’s pockets with cash.
Seizing on McCain’s flip-flop on offshore drilling, Barack Obama, “campaigning in Michigan, swiftly pointed out that Mr. McCain had supported the moratorium during his 2000 presidential run.”
“His decision to completely change his position and tell a group of Houston oil executives exactly what they wanted to hear today was the same Washington politics that has prevented us from achieving energy independence for decades,” Mr. Obama said in a statement.
Add this latest from John McCain to the long list of issues that prove that Clinton supporters considering McCain need to take a look at and get a clue. We must elect Barack Obama in November. There is no doubt about that.