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Yesterday, Interior Secretary Salazar made his first stop on a four-city tour to gauge public opinion on offshore drilling. A New Jersey crowd featured anti-drilling activists. The Wall Street Journal reports:

According to an analysis of federal data by Securing America’s Future Energy, a Washington-based group of business and retired military leaders that advocates increased domestic production, the offshore industry produced 10.2 billion barrels of oil between 1985 and 2007 with a spill rate of .001%. 

“I hope [the government] recognizes that we have a tremendous environmental record that they can look at,” said Denise McCourt, industry-relations director with the American Petroleum Institute.

But voices like Ms. McCourt’s were in the minority at the hearing. One group in the back rows held up dollar bills whenever pro-drilling speakers had the microphone, to show that “money talks,” members said.

The online version of the article does not include two paragraphs that the print version includes. The first paragraph says Sec. Salazar indicated that Interior will release final rules regarding offshore renewables (wind and wave) in a month or two. Salazar then claims that wind turbines off the East Coast could generate enough electricity to replace most, if not all, coal plants in the U.S. The second omitted paragraph quotes Revis James, of EPRI, who says that such a plan “might be theoretically possible” but that “in practical terms, it’s not very likely that it will be economical.”

For those playing at home: (1) In 2007, coal generated 48.5 percent of our nation’s electricity, while wind accounted for 0.77 percent. (2) Erecting turbines off certain parts of the East Coast doesn’t sit well with the locals.

I wonder how many of those holding up currency at the Salazar town-hall meeting in Atlantic City would look forward to getting their current from a forest of turbines off the Jersey Shore.



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