Monday, September 29, 2008

Big Oil wins this round; offshore ban is gone

(Photo of offshore oil platform from Flickr and photographer absolutwade/Beau Wade)

Washington Report: Big Oil has won, at least for now. After spending millions on lobbying, and taking advantage of the rise in gas prices to win over two powerful advocates, President Bush and John McCain, it has two-thirds of the country believing we need to drill offshore – and drill now. Not to mention those omnipresent American Petroleum Institute ads of an annoying woman of indeterminate age in a black pantsuit who strides across the U.S. map as if she owns it, telling us Congress has put most of the oil reserves in the U.S. off bounds. Well, they aren’t anymore. For the first time in 26 years, Congress has let the moratorium on offshore drilling expire. Starting Oct. 1 oil rigs technically could spring up just 3 miles offshore, except within 150 miles of Florida’s Gulf Coast, which was placed off-limits by a 2006 law. Also gone is the ban on oil shale in the West. It’s a huge step backward for the environment and a win for fossil fuels. Not satisfied, some lawmakers continue to push their drilling agendas. Republicans want to give the states a portion of the royalties (which some gulf states had and lost) and speed up leasing and permitting. Democrats from Massachusetts want to make sure to protect the Georges Bank fishing grounds (“shellfish, not Shell Oil”) and national marine sanctuaries from drilling. A new president and Congress could reinstate the ban. (E&E News PM)

Original here

No comments: