McCain's Drilling Program Runs Into Trouble
Concerns about environmental damage are undermining support for McCain's plans to expand offshore drilling
A recent poll indicated that while a slight majority of Americans want more areas to be opened for oil drilling, around 3/4 of Americans think that we should focus our efforts on investing in new energy technology, rather than on expansion of drilling. Since John McCain has made support for more drilling a centerpiece of his campaign, that result would seem to favor Obama.
Also, most Americans don't think that more drilling will significantly lower gas prices (they're right), and they think that the Bush/McCain proposals to expand drilling are more likely to enrich oil companies than to lower the price of oil.
As if that wasn't bad enough news for John McCain, some recent events demonstrated the folly of opening up more territory for drilling. First, new information became available that further discredits the global warming skeptics. A highly-touted documentary that purported to debunk global warming was cited by British media regulators and climate scientists for lacking objectivity and balance. Also, the American Physical Society reiterated its position that global warming is real and primarily man-made, putting to rest the rumor that the APS had reversed itself. Clearly, global warming continues to be a critical problem, one that is exacerbated by choosing more drilling over developing alternative fuel and conservation technologies.
More importantly for the McCain campaign, congress took up debate on a bill that would force oil companies to use the oil leases they already have, or abandon their rights to drill on that land. The measure would also bar them from selling oil from their offshore drilling operations overseas. McCain and his fellow Republicans oppose the bill, and Bush has threatened to veto it. But if the purpose of granting offshore leases is to reduce the price of gas, shouldn't the Republicans be in favor of this measure? Why wouldn't they want to force oil companies to drill on existing leases and to sell their oil in the United States, unless the real purpose of expanding offshore drilling is to enrich the oil companies?
Luck was on John McCain's side earlier in the week. McCain had planned to try to upstage Obama's gigantic rally in Berlin by speaking in front of reporters on an offshore oil well, but that plan was doused by Hurricane Dolly. Just imagine how that would have looked: Obama burnishing his foreign policy credentials by wowing our closest allies while McCain speaks of the need to expand offshore drilling... on a day when there was a major oil spill in the gulf of Mexico.
(cross posted at Liberal Avenger and appletree)