White House Announces Plan for Energy Security Through Offshore Drilling
President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the administration’s tentative game plan for national energy security.
The President said,
“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 on homegrown fuels and clean energy…the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and the long term.”
(Oil rigs off the coast of Kerouac’s beautiful beaches of Santa Barbara, CA. Photo: DieselDemon via Flickr.)
The White House calls for expanding domestic offshore drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf, including areas of the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, while,
“protecting places that are simply too special to drill, such as Alaska’s Bristol Bay.”
(Fishing vessel near Whittler, AK. Photo: Paul Resh.)
The list of precluded “special” places also includes Disneyland, Neverland, and the Shire (Mordor may be considered for future geothermal power development).
The administration’s plan does not sit well with conservationists like Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune, who responded,
“Drilling our coasts will [do] nothing to lower gas prices or create energy independence. It will only jeopardize beaches, marine life, and coastal tourist economies…One oil spill is all it takes to destroy a coastal tourism economy and the jobs that depend on it.”
(High Volume Open Seas Skimmer barge, on Mississippi River oil spill, 2008. Photo: Anthony Velaco, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)
President Obama made talk of a clean energy future, ostensibly to appease furious environmentalists, but the expansion of offshore drilling was the main thrust of his announcement. He admitted,
“Drilling alone can’t come close to meeting our long-term energy needs, and for the sake of our planet and our energy independence, we need to begin the transition to cleaner fuels now,”
The plan would lift a moratorium on Virginia coastal drilling, an idea opposed by state representatives like Jim Moran (D-VA). He said,
“Drilling will have no impact on Virginia’s transportation crisis anytime soon, even if a majority in Congress were to agree to give up future federal revenue. Oil and gas development off Virginia’s coast will be a long and drawn out process whose results will not be known for close to a decade.”
March 4, Oregon passed a bill to maintain a moratorium on offshore drilling in state territorial waters, and with good reason. The state has some of the most beautiful untarnished coastlines in the country, and a strong fishing and tourism economy. Oregonians are convinced that doing without such developments, as they have always done, is a profitable and sustainable long term solution.
(Alaska fishermen kickin’ it. Photo: Echoforsberg via Flickr.)
Our greater national vision remains one of idyllic seamlessness, as reflected by our chief executive today. We’ll change over to a clean energy economy some day, so long as we don’t have to make major sacrifices for it.