The Dems Fold With A New Offshore Drilling Plan

Democrats caved came to a new proposal on Wednesday which would allow offshore drilling 50 miles from the coast if the state approves: federal waters within 50 miles of shore would continue to be protected. Waters off Florida’s Gulf coast also would remain protected at least until 2022 under the plan.

The proposal is expected to come up for a vote next week. Along with allowing offshore drilling, it is also expected to roll back tax breaks on the largest of oil companies, where those royalties will be used to spur renewable energy programs and conservation. But the proposal, announced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, would essentially end the long-standing federal ban on oil and gas drilling that has barred oil companies from more than 80 percent of Outer Continental Shelf waters from New England to Washington state.

“Our energy legislation will bring down gas prices, protect taxpayers, invest in clean renewable energy and provide an American-owned energy policy that the Bush-McCain Republicans have failed to deliver for the past eight years,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

Congressional Republicans have been demanding a vote allowing access to the offshore resources, and the topic has also become a core issue of GOP presidential nominee John McCain. But Republicans have strongly opposed new taxes on the oil companies as well as another of the Democrats’ crazy demands: that utilities nationwide be required to use at least 15-percent renewable energy, such as wind and solar.

Both provisions are key to the Democrats’ plan.

House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the Democrats’ drilling proposal would still leave vast areas of federal coastal waters — believed to have 18 billion barrels of oil and large natural gas resources — off-limits. Might I add, gooood!

“They’re trying to pull a hoax on the American people,” Boehner told reporters Wednesday. He said the Democrats’ plan didn’t appear to include any sharing of royalties with states and with no financial incentives states would likely not participate, resulting “in little or no new American energy production.”

The Senate, meanwhile, is expected next week to take up several drilling proposals including one that would open waters off the Atlantic from Virginia to Georgia and the eastern Gulf off Florida to drilling but keep the bans in place elsewhere. That plan also would allow for a 50-mile coastal buffer.

Image source: waffler on Flicker

11 thoughts on “The Dems Fold With A New Offshore Drilling Plan”

  1. Jerry James Stone

    re: Brenen M. Hofstadter

    The thing is, it buys us nothing. Its just one more distraction from what really needs to be done. Offshore wont lower gas prices. We wouldn’t even see that fuel for years.

  2. Bohner is right, but the DEMS will get their two key provisions and the states will get their cut. This sea change in support to expand offshore drilling is like never before, seems inevitable, and therefore must be worked through in best bi-partisan way possible…in my opinion.

  3. Politics can be so deflating and sickening. Pelosi’s quote above shows that continued delusion and/or con game that politicians run, as if we’re going to think the Democrats are somehow saving us by bending over for the Republicans on this thing.

    It seems to me that this move by the Democrats will only alienate and aggravate us further, while giving the Republicans and oil companies what they want. It doesn’t gain the Dems respect from anyone.

    We complain about the Republican/Rove machine that is trying to divert and railroad this presidential election, but the Democrats do an awful lot to enable those Republicans.

    Sad. Pathetic. Depressing.

  4. Jerry James Stone

    re: Charles Hill

    Huh. Interesting. She mentions the “solid energy policy” thing over and over but outside of a token nod to renewables, she completely skips over how a solid energy plan must be sustainable.

    The part that provided me the most laughs was the “red scare” part where other nations, who have opposing ethical values to our own, are growing in crude oil production.

    The whole thing seems a little myopic to me. Yes, we need a sound energy policy. But one that doesn’t curb our consumption (we used about 25% of the world’s oil) and doesn’t provide a sustainable biofuel (I don’t think ethanol is the answer) will only leave us in the same sinking boat.

    Making a hasty decision because of some commie/Reagen era scare tactic is just a horrible mistake.

  5. This kind of short sighted politics is what will get progressive politicians defeated in November. The drill baby drill crowd really believes that lifting these bans will solve our energy problems, and will vote against politicians who oppose. The oil companies have very little capacity, and not much incentive, to increase offshore oil production. They want the leases, and they will drill some holes to reclassify resources to proven reserves, but there will be no significant increase in production even in the long term. Some of those offshore platforms cost a billion dollars and take years to build. With oil companies making record profits, why would they want to change strategies now?
    What progressive politicians should do is get behind an oil bill that looks good to the “drill here drill now” bunch but make sure it is tied to the tax credit for alternative energy bill that has been stalled by Republicans.
    By blocking drilling while “saving the planet” the Dems are handing the opposition a big club to hit them over the head with. If Obama can win and have a strong majority in congress, he will have at least two years to come up with a sensible energy plan.
    Take a hint from republicans, throw your morals out the window and win baby!

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