The big story today is that Barack Obama will eventually allow some more drilling for oil off the coast of Virginia. That would be good news — if he didn’t simultaneously block more drilling in Alaska at the same time. From the New York Times:
President Obama today proposed allowing oil and gas drilling for the first time in large swaths of water off the East Coast, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and potentially off Alaska.
…The plan calls for exploration in areas from Delaware to off the coastline of central Florida, while keeping the East Coast from New Jersey northward closed to oil and gas development. But actual drilling would only take place after detailed study of the regions, which could take years.
The entire West Coast, from the Canadian to Mexican borders, would be off-limits.
Bristol Bay in Alaska would be kept closed to production, but the Chukchi and Beaufort seas might be opened to drilling after extensive studies.
The plan also calls for oil and gas exploration in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, more than 125 miles from Florida’s coast, in areas that are currently under congressional moratorium and closed to development.
The administration also plans by 2012 to hold a lease sale 50 miles off the coast of Virginia and one in the Cook Inlet in Alaska, if the government determines it can be done in an environmentally responsible manner and does not interfere with military activities there.
Obama pledged to protect areas vital to tourism, the environment and national security and to be guided by scientific evidence.
…The plans calls for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in the Arctic Ocean, which could begin as early as this summer. But no further lease sales in the seas will be held under the 2007-2012 program.
Environmental groups praised the administration for protecting Bristol Bay, saying it is one of the planet’s richest marine ecosystems.
Marilyn Heiman, Pew Environment Group’s U.S. Arctic program director, said under the George W. Bush administration’s proposal about one-fifth, or 5.6 million acres, of Bristol Bay would have been opened to oil drilling.
…Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, chairman of the House Republican Conference, called the announcement a “smokescreen.”
“As usual, the devil is in the details,” Pence said. “Only in Washington, D.C., can you ban more areas to oil and gas exploration than you open up, delay the date of your new leases, and claim you’re going to increase production.”
House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said the administration “is attempting to pull the wool over our eyes.”
“President Obama’s rhetoric conveys support for increasing American oil and natural gas production, while the reality is he’s proposing a plan that will close more areas to drilling than it opens, and the few areas still available won’t be open for years,” Hastings said.
In other words, there’s no actual drilling for oil that’s occurring in Obama’s oil drilling proposal. There’s just a bunch of vague promises that will undoubtedly never be delivered upon as long as Obama is in office lest he infuriate the environmental wackos on the left who’d force everyone to live by torchlight if they could get away with it. Of course, it could be worse. Given Barack Obama’s level of knowledge about how the real world works, we’re lucky he didn’t ban the internal combustion engine and demand that all cars run on hope and love from here on out.