Obama Clears Way for Offshore Drilling: A Positive Move but Issues Abound

The Obama Administration has announced that it would reverse a ban on oil drilling off most U.S. shores. In many ways this is a good thing. It opens 115 billion barrels of oil and 633 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to domestic production. This is all good news and in many ways it is long overdue.

The bad news is that Obama readily admits that he is going to use this decision as a tool to drum up support for his economically-devastating “cap and trade” legislation. While that may be a pipe dream, even this decision by Obama has some hidden negatives. These include pulling other areas from potential production. According to this article from the Globe and Mail, “But while it will provide new access to the U.S. east coast and eastern areas of the Gulf of Mexico – provided such plans are cleared on environmental grounds – the new strategy also cancels one planned lease sale in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, considered too environmentally sensitive, and delays two others.”

So, while it is good to see that Obama is not simply putting his head in the sand and universally opposing all oil and gas production, he has a long way to go before he earns any credibility as someone willing to pursue rational energy policies.