Offshore Oil Drilling: Nobody’s Happy

Apr 2, 2010 3:54pm

So is America divided or what?  On Wednesday President Obama announced that he is opening up much of the coast of the eastern United States to offshore oil drilling — and today the complaints from both left and right are still coming.

The newest comes from Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, who put out this statement today: "With a new poll showing 72 percent support for offshore drilling, it’s clear that President Obama's new plan to lockup [sic] the vast majority of the Outer Continental Shelf from future energy production is just plain out of touch with the American people.  The Administration's anti-offshore drilling policy established on Wednesday puts 18 billion barrels of oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas under lock and key that this economy desperately needs."  

The opposite had already come from Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club: "The oil industry already has access to drilling on millions of acres of America's public lands and water. We don't need to hand over our last protected pristine coastal areas just so oil companies can break more profit records."

Our polling unit reminds us that Mr. Hastings is right about public opinion: 63 percent told a Pew poll in February that they favor more offshore drilling.  They add, though, that 78 percent want to see increased funding for alternative energy, and 70 percent would like to see more for mass transit.  The summary, from the Pew Research Center, is HERE.

Mr. Obama said Wednesday he was trying to come down the middle: "Given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth, produce jobs and keep our businesses competitive, we're going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy."

Americans may be divided, but they seem together on this much: they're dissatisfied.

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