Planet Gore

Team Obama’s Dance on Drilling

I finally got around to reading the energy and environment section of Monday’s Wall Street Journal article comparing the positions of Senators John McCain and Barack Obama on four major issues. I couldn’t help but notice a glaring contradiction from Obama’s top energy advisor, Heather Zichal. 
Commenting on offshore drilling, Zichal says:

“McCain’s plan to allow drilling won’t result in a drop of oil for seven years, and by his own account will have mainly a ‘psychological’ impact, but won’t affect prices. All current government estimates also indicate that even if we drilled along all of our coastlines we would not produce enough oil to alter global production and reduce prices here at home. As long as we are dependent upon oil, our fate is linked to decisions in other countries. It is time for national leaders to support policies that match our own rhetoric. More drilling on the OCS might give Senator McCain a talking point to take home for the next election but it simply doesn’t measure up to the challenges we face.”

Later in the conversation, commenting on Obama’s reaction to the Gang of 10 compromise, she says:

“Like all compromises, it also includes provisions that Senator Obama hasn’t always supported.  And while he remains skeptical that new offshore drilling will bring down gas prices in the short-term or significantly reduce our oil dependence in the long-term, he does welcome the establishment of a process that will allow us to make future offshore drilling decisions based on science and fact.”

So, if I understand this correctly, it is good to base decisions on “science and fact,” but the current push for expanded offshore drilling is not justified by the facts (the resources are out there; we can get them; increased supply lowers prices and lessens our imports of foreign oil from unstable regimes)?  Exactly what facts does she feel would justify drilling at a later date?  And on what facts does she base her proposition that offshore drilling “won’t result in a drop of oil for seven years”?  Maybe there’s some “scientific consensus” on which she rests, and the rest of us just haven’t gotten the memo. 

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