There seems to be this fear among conservatives that this oil spill is going to be used as justification by Obama for shutting down oil drilling. Please don’t fall for this. It’s not going to happen folks. It wouldn’t make any sense.
As I always say: think about who benefits. Firstly, Obama gets tons of campaign money from the oil industry:
In a new ad, Obama says, “I don’t take money from oil companies.”
Technically, that’s true, since a law that has been on the books for more than a century prohibits corporations from giving money directly to any federal candidate. But that doesn’t distinguish Obama from his rivals in the race.
We find the statement misleading:
- Obama has accepted more than $213,000 from individuals who work for companies in the oil and gas industry and their spouses.
- Two of Obama’s bundlers are top executives at oil companies and are listed on his Web site as raising between $50,000 and $100,000 for the presidential hopeful.
and from BP specifically, nobody was given more than Obama during the 2008 election cycle:
During the 2008 campaign cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, individuals and political action committees (PACs) associated with oil-giant BP contributed about $500,000 to federal candidates. About 40 percent went to Democrats.
The top recipient overall? President Obama, who got $71,000 from the company tied to the environmental disaster in the Gulf, according to the group.
So, armed with those facts, how are you going to convince yourself that Obama is going to shut down off-shore drilling? He’s not. What he will do is make multiple head-fakes to appease his green base. That’s a given. He did one of them yesterday:
President Obama ordered a halt Thursday to drilling operations at all 33 exploratory deep-water rigs in the Gulf of Mexico for as long as six months, one of several steps he announced at a news conference where he sought to defend his administration’s handling of the spill.
Most of the measures, including a six-month moratorium on new wells, concern future operations. But in perhaps the most dramatic shift, Obama ordered nearly three dozen existing rigs or others preparing to drill to stop operation pending the findings of a presidential commission. Production rigs in deep water may continue to operate, and exploratory drilling in shallow water will continue, White House officials said.
This is a classic political head-fake. Obama announces that he is halting drilling until his commission concludes it’s research. We get a clearer picture on exactly what’s going on by looking at another article:
(Reuters) – President Barack Obama will announce a six month extension on a deepwater oil drilling moratorium on Thursday while a special commission studies the reasons for the Gulf of Mexico spill, a White House aide said.
So, when he says that he’s “halting drilling”, what he means is that he’s simply extending an existing moratorium on off-shore drilling that has been in place since 1990. This is the same moratorium that he vowed to “relax” as recently as March:
The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.
So, he isn’t “banning” or “halting” anything in any meaningful way. He’s just extending an already in-place moratorium on drilling off of the East coast. Guess who first put that moratorium in place. Yep, George Bush Sr.:
Navigating a middle course between environmental advocates and oil companies, President Clinton announced today a 10-year extension of the moratorium on oil drilling off virtually all United States ocean coastlines.
Mr. Clinton also placed several marine sanctuaries off-limits to oil exploration, setting no expiration date. The areas include the Channel Islands and Monterey Bay sanctuaries in California, the Florida Keys, Gray’s Reef in Georgia and the Olympic Coast sanctuary off Washington State.
The moratorium does not, however, affect areas off the Texas and Louisiana coasts, where extensive drilling has been going on for years, nor does it protect any areas, including the coastline of the southeastern United States, not already covered by the drilling ban first imposed by President George Bush in 1990.
And a little more digging in the NY Times archive turns up further clarification of exactly what the moratorium entails:
New Coastal Drilling Would Be Barred by Gore
Vice President Al Gore said that as President he would ban any new offshore drilling for oil and gas along the California and Florida coasts. The proposal by Mr. Gore, who is battling his Presidential rival Bill Bradley for the support of environmental groups, would go beyond a current moratorium on drilling and apply to companies that had already bought billions of dollars’ worth of leases but not drilled yet. Mr. Gore cast his proposal as part of a bold environmental agenda that he pledged would be central to his campaign.
So, essentially, the moratorium itself was a classic corporate protection bill to begin with. It applied only to companies that had not “already bought billions of dollars’ worth of leases.” It essentially kept competition out of the oil exploration market, thus protecting the big boys. All that Obama has done is just find a politically expedient way to extend this big oil protection mechanism for even longer, while cashing it out as a green friendly move to mollify his base. And it’s working like a charm:
Finally: Obama halts new offshore leases and stumps for climate bill
Now we’re getting somewhere on the offshore drilling problem. Some progress from the top:
Mr. Obama ordered a further six-month moratorium on new permits for new deepwater oil and gas wells; suspended the planned exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off the coast of Alaska; canceled a planned August lease sale in the western Gulf of Mexico; and canceled a proposed lease sale off the coast of Virginia. Environmentalists who had opposed the Alaska and Virginia projects hailed the decisions.
Mr. Obama said further moves will be made to strengthen oversight of the drilling industry and enhance safety as a commission he is appointing opens its own six-month inquiry.
So the green army(ever naive), have fallen for the bait hook, line and sinker. [sigh] I guess they will never learn. Politics is always smoke and mirrors. If you just read a headline and take it as fact, you will never, ever be properly informed. It takes tracing the flow of influence, money and motivation in order to find out the truth.