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Old 03-31-2010, 03:38 PM   #1
Wynton
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Drill, baby, drill

Here's an issue I'm genuinely agnostic about: off-shore drilling. (I didn't notice any threads on it.)

My recollection is that Obama campaigned on somewhat of a vague promise to increase off-shore drilling, a promise which I imagine both sides of the political aisle did not take very seriously.

So, today we get this story about Obama opening up some areas for more drilling

Quote:
The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.
Quote:
The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.

Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.

The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska — nearly 130 million acres — would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies
Predictably, liberals are upset, and conservatives are unimpressed.

Aside from the usual environmental concerns, liberals are irritated that Obama may be making a concession, without getting any promise of votes on climate change.

Bradford Plumer discusses:

Quote:
Still, it seems bizarre to fork over this bargaining chip before the bill is even released. What kind of negotiating tactic is that? Especially since this move is going to infuriate environmentalists—the folks you want pushing for your climate bill. Note that the administration did the same thing with nuclear power, another item that could lure swing senators. Back in January, the White House proposed a massive expansion of the nuclear loan guarantee program without getting anything tangible in return from pro-nuke Republicans. John McCain still wanders around complaining that the administration's not "serious" about nukes. Now, maybe that's the point—offer an olive branch and watch Republicans swat it down and look unreasonable. Right on cue, John Boehner's already whining about Obama's drilling plan. Not sure that strategy makes sense, though.
But another possibility, Plumber remarks:

Quote:
is that this move isn't focused on the climate-bill debate and is geared more toward public opinion. According to the EIA, gas prices are expected to go up quite a bit this summer (probably shooting north of $3/gallon), and the administration may want to step out ahead of the inevitable teeth-gnashing and garment-rending over the issue. So this could be more about the midterms than rounding up votes in the Senate. Though, granted, this drilling announcement won't affect summer gas prices in the slightest.
Politics aside, the NYT article linked above makes it appear that any actual drilling is many years away, and may never occur:

Quote:
It is not known how much potential fuel lies in the areas opened to exploration, although according to Interior Department estimates there could be as much as a three-year supply of recoverable oil and more than two years’ worth of natural gas, at current rates of consumption. But those estimates are based on seismic data that is, in some cases, more than 30 years old.

The first lease sale off the coast of Virginia could occur as early as next year in a triangular tract 50 miles off the coast that had already been approved for development but was held up by a court challenge and additional Interior Department review, officials said.

But as a result of the Obama decision, the Interior Department will spend several years conducting geologic and environmental studies along the rest of the southern and central Atlantic Seaboard. If a tract is deemed suitable for development, it is listed for sale in a competitive bidding system. The next lease sales — if any are authorized by the Interior Department — would not be held before 2012.

The eastern Gulf of Mexico tract that would be offered for lease is adjacent to an area that already contains thousands of wells and hundreds of drilling platforms. The eastern Gulf area is believed to contain as much as 3.5 billion barrels of oil and 17 trillion cubic feet of gas, the richest single tract that would be open to drilling under the Obama plan.

Drilling there has been strongly opposed by officials from both political parties in Alabama and Florida who fear damage to coastlines, fisheries, popular beaches and wildlife. Interior Department officials said no wells would be allowed within 125 miles of the Florida and Alabama coasts, making them invisible from shore.

The Interior Department and the Pentagon are discussing possible restrictions on oil and gas operations in some areas off Virginia and Florida, home to some of the nation’s biggest Navy and Air Force facilities. States are also likely to claim rights to the revenues from oil and gas deposits within 3 to 12 miles of shore and to some portion of lease proceeds, officials said.
Anyone have any opinions to offer on this topic? As I said at the start, I'm agnostic, both on the merits and the politics of it all.
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:52 PM   #2
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

It's a hypocritical move. The guy talked such a big game nonstop about clean energy, and this is just the opposite. It just seems to me like a very poor attempt to suck up to the Republicans and win back some "bipartisanship" that never existed in the first place.

I don't even know what the hell he's thinking anymore...
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:53 PM   #3
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

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Originally Posted by Wynton View Post
...I'm agnostic, both on the merits and the politics of it all.
Then you made an odd choice for the thread title.
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:54 PM   #4
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

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Then you made an odd choice for the thread title.
I stole it from this blog,

which had this photo underneath the headline:

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Old 03-31-2010, 03:56 PM   #5
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

^ That...Is one of...THE...Creepiest things...I have...EVER...Seen...
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:56 PM   #6
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

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Originally Posted by ShortyTheFish View Post
It's a hypocritical move. The guy talked such a big game nonstop about clean energy, and this is just the opposite. It just seems to me like a very poor attempt to suck up to the Republicans and win back some "bipartisanship" that never existed in the first place.

I don't even know what the hell he's thinking anymore...
Whatever he's thinking now seems to be the same as what he was thinking before.

From that NYT article:

Quote:
Mr. Obama said several times during his presidential campaign that he supported expanded offshore drilling. He noted in his State of the Union address in January that weaning the country from imported oil would require “tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development.”
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:03 PM   #7
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

All I know is that if he thinks this will get him some votes for some major clean energy bill in the future, he is sorely mistaken. Republicans don't want anything to do with him anymore, and Democrats will feel betrayed by this move.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:07 PM   #8
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

lol I'm a pretty cynical guy when if comes to the efficacy of politics but I love the cynicsm on show here. Do I have it basically correct that the bloggers (and the above poster) are saying Obama can't possibly be doing this just because he thinks it's the correct thing to do, that it must be a ploy of some sort and, that not being enough, that he should have gone further and played politics more with the issue?
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:16 PM   #9
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

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Originally Posted by tomdemaine View Post
lol I'm a pretty cynical guy when if comes to the efficacy of politics but I love the cynicsm on show here. Do I have it basically correct that the bloggers (and the above poster) are saying Obama can't possibly be doing this just because he thinks it's the correct thing to do, that it must be a ploy of some sort and, that not being enough, that he should have gone further and played politics more with the issue?
Bravo. As I recently remarked elsewhere, I think it's worth occasionally considering the possibility that politicians may recommend a policy on the merits.

Here, I think people are quick to assume that Obama doesn't really believe the increased off-shore drilling is a good idea because they believe his views fit comfortably into the mainstream of liberal/environmentalists. This is why I imagine that no one really took his campaign words seriously in this context. Liberals and conservatives alike probably doubted he'd follow through.

At the same time, the article I quoted above provides some more ammunition for being cynical, imo. Specifically, it looks like this is just a very preliminary step, and that actual off-shore drilling is many years away. For that reason, the announcement may not amount to much of anything concrete.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:19 PM   #10
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

This issue seems mostly symbollic. Drilling won't have a huge impact on our energy situation or the environment so it really doesn't matter what we do. But since its political people on both sides care deeply.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:33 PM   #11
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

nevermind the fact that there's about 8 hours of oil off the coast of Florida, and perhaps 3 months of it at ANWR...

be our guest... drill away... and go bankrupt in the process....
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:38 PM   #12
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

Who measures oil in time?
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:42 PM   #13
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

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Who measures oil in time?
well, i guess anyone simply applying proven reserve totals divided by rate of consumption.

any way you want to measure it, there's barely any oil off US coasts.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:45 PM   #14
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

grunching, drudge has a link to obama promising during the campaign that he would NOT end a moratorium on offshore drilling in florida.

insert siren here.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:47 PM   #15
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

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Originally Posted by pvn View Post
insert siren here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvn View Post


SNAKE OIL SALESMAN: OBAMA PROMISED DURING THE CAMPAIGN THAT HE WOULD NOT END A MORATORUM ON OFFSHORE DRILLING IN FLORIDA



.

Last edited by DVaut1; 03-31-2010 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:57 PM   #16
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

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grunching, drudge has a link to obama promising during the campaign that he would NOT end a moratorium on offshore drilling in florida.

insert siren here.
I don't have an independent memory of what was said about this. But the news reports today are conflicting.

My guess is that Obama probably began by making relatively clear comments that he would not permit off-shore drilling (perhaps in the primaries), but gradually hedged about this during the general campaign (until he flatly acknowledged the possibility in the state of the union address).
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:59 PM   #17
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

So, let me just ask straight out here: forgetting the politics for a moment, does anyone here have a clear preference either for or against the contemplated increase in off-shore drilling? Or do most people just assume it doesn't really matter much?
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Old 03-31-2010, 05:08 PM   #18
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

I made a mad lib!

verb 1
verb 2
verb 3
verb ending in s
verb ending in -ing
plural noun
plural occupation
country
country-adjective
insulting adjective
adjective 1
adjective 2
adjective 3
positive adjective
insult
internet abbreviation
scare quote word
ethnic group

Spoiler:

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Old 03-31-2010, 05:08 PM   #19
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

Quote:
So, let me just ask straight out here: forgetting the politics for a moment, does anyone here have a clear preference either for or against the contemplated increase in off-shore drilling? Or do most people just assume it doesn't really matter much?
I'm against it, mostly because as far as I've heard, there isn't that much oil in those areas to begin with. Yes, it may buy us a few months, maybe a couple years, but this is not a long-term solution and the money would be much better spent on getting us some damn clean energy and alternative fuels NOW.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:00 PM   #20
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

the fact that liberals would oppose this, is pretty damning of liberals imo
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:04 PM   #21
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

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Originally Posted by ShortyTheFish View Post
I'm against it, mostly because as far as I've heard, there isn't that much oil in those areas to begin with. Yes, it may buy us a few months, maybe a couple years, but this is not a long-term solution and the money would be much better spent on getting us some damn clean energy and alternative fuels NOW.
Saying that there isn't enough really isn't a reason by itself to be against it. It's not as if offshore drilling and clean energy are mutually exclusive options available.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:05 PM   #22
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

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the fact that liberals would oppose this, is pretty damning of liberals imo
Are you saying that because you assume that any environmental impact will be minimal, or because you don't think that any such impact should matter?

I think the environment is a valid concern, but I just have no clue what the real impact of drilling would be.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:36 PM   #23
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

More drudge sirens please!
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:51 PM   #24
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Re: Drill, baby, drill

It's my understanding (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that the main contention against offshore drilling is 1) the possibility of a potential spill, which could severely damage the surrounding ecosystem, 2) the drilling activity could affect fishing in the surrounding area and 3) that the platforms themselves disturb the marine life directly below it and the latter of which seems like a pretty weak argument given that the platforms themselves are about half the size of a football field.

Any that I'm missing? Because these, in general, seem to be pretty unlikely/not affecting any appreciable amount of sea life. But I'm not a marine biologist.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:59 PM   #25
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