Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wavering on Offshore Drilling

Democrats in Congress are making noises about drilling for oil in the ocean.

In the Democrats' weekly radio address, Pelosi of California said expanding drilling areas would be part of a broader bill which addresses other energy issues....

Pelosi said the legislation would require oil companies to pay billions of dollars in drilling royalties, which would be invested in clean energy resources.

Democrats also want to release supplies from the U.S. emergency oil stockpile to help lower gasoline prices, increase drilling in an Alaskan oil reserve that is already open to exploration and require utilities to generate a portion of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind energy.

In addition, Pelosi said, the legislation would seek to rein in excessive energy market speculation that many U.S. lawmakers blame for running up crude oil and gasoline prices.
Allowing some offshore drilling might make sense as bait to pass a larger energy reform package. Unfortunately this proposal seems to emphasize lots of oil (drilling offshore, drilling onshore, releasing oil) with wind and solar as an afterthought. It is also not clear whether this would include an extension of the renewable energy tax credit, which Senate Republicans keep blocking. From my perspective, it looks like shortsighted political damage control rather than a real plan.

What will probably end up passing is a bill with all oil and no renewables.