Thursday, April 22, 2010

President Obama Draws Heat on Off-Shore Drilling

By Chris Brancato

President Obama’s proposal to open American coastlines for natural gas drilling has been met with a large amount of criticism. This time, from both those in favor and those opposing to the long withstanding drilling debate, according to a New York Times article by John M. Broder.

Obama’s plan calls for relying less on outside sources for our products and focusing more on domesticating our resources, especially when dealing with something that is deemed as being one of the most crucial resources to be consumed amongst our country.

On this idea, the executive director of the environmental group the Sierra Club said: “Drilling our coasts will do nothing to lower gas prices or create energy independence.”

President Obama made clear his intentions yesterday at the Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, saying: “Ultimately, we need to move beyond the tired debates of the left and the right, between business leaders and environmentalists, between those who would claim drilling is a cure all and those who would claim it has no place,” he said. “Because this issue is just too important to allow our progress to languish while we fight the same old battles over and over again.”

“We’re appalled that the president is unleashing a wholesale assault on the oceans,” Jacqueline Savitz of the environmental group Oceana said on Wednesday. “Expanding offshore drilling is the wrong move if the Obama administration is serious about improving energy security, creating lasting jobs and averting climate change.”
Things begin to get really touchy upon discussing the exact geographical locations of where this drilling will actually be permitted. Southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said, while the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska would be eligible for exploration and drilling, Broder reports.

Mr. Obama was fully aware that backlash would ensue and stated to those weary of the idea: “There will be those who strongly disagree with this decision, including those who say we should not open any new areas to drilling, But what I want to emphasize is that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy. And the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and long term. To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake.”

In an added attempt to satisfy oil industry officials and Republicans in Congress who would claim that the president did not go dig deep enough, Obama said:

“They’d deny the fact that with less than 2 percent of oil reserves, but more than 20 percent of world consumption, drilling alone cannot come close to meeting our long-term energy needs,” he said, “and that for the sake of the planet and our energy independence, we need to begin the transition to cleaner fuels now.”

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