I call this a welcome surprise; the Obama administration is opening up vast areas of the coast for offshore drilling.
The New York Times: The Obama administration will approve significant oil and gas exploration off America’s coasts, including a possible sale two years from now of leases off Virginia’s coast, administration officials said Wednesday.
The move, which President Obama will announce Wednesday morning with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Andrews Air Force Base, ends a long-standing moratorium on oil and gas drilling along much of the East Coast, from Delaware to central Florida.
The new strategy, an administration official said, calls for also developing oil and gas exploration in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, more than 125 miles from Florida’s coast; and in large areas in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in the Arctic Ocean, north of Alaska, after the government conducts detailed studies. …
The administration’s decision to open up large swaths of the Outer Continental Shelf, even as it keeps some key preserves off-limits, is likely to anger environmentalists and several key lawmakers who had pressed Obama to keep the moratorium in place. But oil and gas companies are sure to welcome the proposal.
This is good news. America should have been drilling offshore decades ago. Not drilling off America’s shores to please environmentalist was always a foolish policy. With so many nations drilling oil for us (and less responsibly too) we were only deluding ourselves into thinking we were saving the planet.
The environmentalists are going to want Obama’s hide for this. As such I will not be surprised if he has some gift of appeasement coming down the pike for the enviro-wienies. You will notice from the graphic, that the drilling is not going to happen anywhere near the bluest of blue states. Perhaps that is the first gift of appeasement.
Given Obama’s dig at Mitt Romney by comparing ObamaCare to RomneyCare, I have to wonder if this offshore drilling has anything to do with taking some of the wind out of Sarah Palin’s sails. Energy independence is Palin’s strongest suit, with Obama and Palin now on the same page, is she neutralized on this issue?
Finally, given the successful resurrection of ObamaCare, I am somewhat leery that this might be a way to revive Cap and Trade. God help us if it is, Cap and Trade will for sure polish us off economically.
UPDATE: The Old Rope A Dope
As several of you have pointed out, there is a give with one hand and take away with the other game going on with Obama's plan. As we see, Obama's plan turns out to be a back door two year extension on the drilling ban.
From Gateway Pundit:
Obama Moratorium: The Obama Administration plan would discard the 2010-2015 Outer Continental Shelf lease plan that had been set in motion by the previous Administration and delay the implementation of their new plan until 2012. This new two-year “Obama Moratorium” (2010-2012) would almost certainly delay any new exploration in areas previously under moratoria until after the president’s entire term. The president’s plan would then keep several areas off limits, including the Pacific coast from Mexico to Canada, the Atlantic coast north of Delaware, parts of Alaska, and the most promising areas of the Gulf of Mexico.Against the will of the American people and Congress, the Administration is essentially unilaterally reinstating the drilling ban for an additional two years, signaling to markets that supply will not expand, thus raising prices. Earlier this month, Natural Resources Ranking Member Doc Hastings (R-WA) and 87 other House Republicans sent a letter to Interior Secretary Salazar urging the Administration to implement the 2010-2015 leasing plan. The letter also outlined the cost of inaction-these years of delay will leave Americans unemployed, lose billions of dollars in revenues and create a greater dependence on unstable foreign sources of oil and gas that puts U.S. national security at risk.
Stalling and blockading of new energy production endangers tens of thousands of existing jobs and prevents the creation of new jobs that would help lower the unemployment rate. Opening new areas to drilling would be a no-cost stimulus for the U.S. economy.
New Gas Tax: Making matters worse, the Democrat Congress is unfathomably considering a new gas tax. Press reports suggest that the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham climate bill under construction in the Senate may impose a “carbon tax” on motor fuels such as gasoline. This gas tax would target all consumers (especially rural Americans who travel further for work) and result in an increase in air travel, cargo costs, and significantly impact fuel-dependent industries such as trucking.
Further reading at Michelle Malkin.