McCain: End Offshore Oil Drilling Moratorium

By Samantha Hayes – Washington, DC

John McCain believes that drastic times call for aggressive action. He will tell a receptive audience in Houston today he wants to end the moratorium on offshore oil drilling. It’s an economic initiative McCain hopes will win him support by relieving some financial stress on Americans.

Politically, McCain’s proposal brings him in line with his Republican colleagues who have wanted to see the ban lifted, and were narrowly defeated by Democrats in a recent House subcommittee. It also scores points with those Americans hit hardest by tough economic times.

However, there is a flip side. McCain has made friends with strong voices in the environmental movement and this proposal will most certainly hurt that relationship. It’s also a major change in policy for McCain and he opens himself up to attack from Democratic rival Barack Obama.

The moratorium is 26 years old, and part of McCain proposal is to give states the final say on whether it should be lifted. That may help in battlegrounds like Virginia, a state that is interested in exploring offshore drilling and Florida, where Gov. Charlie Crist seems to be softening his opposition. Crist told the St. Petersburg Times, “It’s the last thing in the world I’d like to do, but I also understand what people are paying at the pump, and I understand the drag it is on our economy.”

This is the second major proposal from McCain in this election year to curb the high price of gas. McCain has also called for a suspension of the federal gas tax that would require Congressional and White House action. While that is seen as unlikely, McCain’s strategy is to show voters who give him high marks on national security and foreign policy that he also has a plan for the economy.

Samantha Hayes is a national correspondent for CNN Newsource based in Washington, D.C. She contributes political stories to KSAT-12. You can learn more about her here.

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3 Comments on “McCain: End Offshore Oil Drilling Moratorium”

  1. Byron Says:

    You want to know the REAL reason we are at the mercy of foreign (and hostile) oil producing countries? The Republicans. It has been their unswerving paid alligence to Big Oil and Coal and conspiracy to back-burner and trivialize clean and renewable energies like solar and wind every step of the way. It’s a scandal of the first order. We never should have been in this predicament. People have been calling for clean alternatives for decades now but Congress, in bed with Fat Cat CEOs, have done all they could to favor Oil and Coal by giving them huge subsidies and tax breaks while simultaneously roadblocking R&D into renewables. Why? Because de-centralized alternatives would mean no longer being dependent on a large central corporation to provide one’s energy needs. A population with their own solar panels or wind turbines etc. would OWN their energy and not have to continually pay for it and they simply couldn’t have that. Frankly, it’s just insane.

    One would think that with the sudden spiking of gas prices recently, though, they would remember their supposed role of looking out for the American people and would realize that we should be investing in renewables – but you’d be wrong.

    “Separately, Democrats also failed to get Republican support for a proposal to extend tax breaks for wind, solar and other alternative energy development, and for the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation. The tax breaks have either expired or are scheduled to end this year…. The oil companies could have avoided the tax if they invested the money in alternative energy projects or refinery expansion. It also would have rescinded oil company tax breaks — worth $17 billion over the next 10 years — with the revenue to be used for tax incentives to producers of wind, solar and other alternative energy sources as well as for energy conservation.”

    When Bill Clinton tried to make it fairer again the Republicans put the breaks on anything that could lead to a switch away from dirty energy (oil, coal, nuclear).

  2. Keith Says:

    Ah, the old Huffington blog reference…that is several orders of magnitude below the credibility of Wikipedia (which isn’t a credible source under MLA and will drop the grade in Freshman Comp by at least one letter grade)

    First of all, the major exploration and production companies merged under the watch of President Clinton. Why? The price of crude dropped to under $11 a barrel. With that, profitability also went out the door. Stripper wells producing 2-10 barrels per day in the Permian Basin (Odessa-Midland TX) were shut in with thoughts of never producing again. Imported oil was cheaper by far because royalties on production meant it cost $10 a barrel to pump.

    Now that oil is $130+ per barrel do we get every conspiracy hypothesis in the book. Alternative fuels? Ford had Flex Fuel options in the Ranger, Taurus, Crown Victoria and Mercury Marquis back in 1999. Only there was little E85 for those outside of the midwest.

    Solar? No one is stopping anyone from buying a home based system unless your homeowner’s association prohibits the installation.

    The problem is ECONOMICS. Alternatives are neither cheaper or superior. E85 is only competetive due to a $0.51/gal SUBSIDY instead of a $0.184/gal TAX (federal). Wind power is fine, as long as it blows. But if the grid is tasked and no wind, something has to be burned/reacted. Solar falls into that limitation too.

    Now that the oil monopolies have us over the barrel, people start lashing out. But the TRUE monopolies are not Exxon-Mobil/BP-Amoco etc but rather PDVSA, Pemex, Aramco and all other STATE-OWNED oil interests. They have caused the problem with ABUSE of their fields, equipment and market. They are monopolies that sell on an open market and we being in the open market, pay for the mistakes. China? They have a $40/bbl subsidy, paid for by their government. They do not feel the pinch at the pump, hence their consumption has little to do with price.

    We HAVE a resource that will deliver 2.75 million barrels per day for the next 20 years, only people are afraid of reindeer migration.

    We HAVE resources in the Gulf of Mexico that could be tapped in a year, only people think the oil will wash up on the beaches (funny how the offshore wells south of Texas and Louisanna haven’t, even during Katrina) or even worse, create an eyesore in the horizon (again, these would be over the horizon, 25+ miles from shore).

    The land-based production in Texas has been declining since 1972. Up until THIS YEAR. High prices have made the shut-in wells PROFITABLE to rework and much to the surprise of the owners, they are producing BETTER than when they were shut in. And we are set to produce more oil in Texas than last year. June isn’t over. Over half of the rigs in the US are operating in Texas. And the majority of the rest are in North Dakota/Montana punching into the Bakken Field which holds more oil than the Permian Basin.

    Facts. Not emotions.

  3. jeff roensch Says:

    The only energy or oil monopoly in this country is a governmental institutionalized monopoly on our country energy market. The legislative branch has been engaging in anti-competitive energy practices from drilling to building new refineries and much more. They are in clear violation of the

    “Sherman Antitrust Act
    This Act expresses our national commitment to a free market economy in which competition free from private and governmental restraints leads to the best results for consumers.”

    Clearly the governmental restraint are in violation of a free market economy and is criminal negligence on the part of the liberal politicians who are the real cartel that profit in taxes more then 3 to 1 to the oil companies that actually work for their money and then have to pay taxes on top of that. So when Oil profits go up the tax revenue increase is 3 times that of the oil companies. So who do you think is the real cartel???

    This criminal incompetence of the democrats and legislative politicians anti free market energy economy in allowing American companies to meet American Oil needs is in need of change and with bush opening up offshore drilling it is time that we conservatives take a page from the left wing play book and for us to us the judicial system in upholding our laws and open up drilling.

    Why dose the Senate call for investigations on big oil? Because they are trying to transfer the blame off of them by placing the blame on someone else. By placing the blame on the oil companies and keep people from seeing that government is the true problem they are able to offer false hope in an effort to gain more power and money from taxes while eliminating a free market economy in our country and forcing us to send our money to unfriendly Middle Eastern countries.

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