As was the case with the gas-tax holiday, Barack Obama refuses to pander on offshore drilling. Okay, so as Amy's noted, drilling's not particularly popular in Florida, though it has gained a little traction thanks to outrageous gas prices, but it only takes a moment to point out to people that even if we could start drilling tomorrow (which we can't), gas prices won't be affected much, if at all. We can't drill our way out of this mess--conservation, alternative clean energy sources, and an increased public transportation system are better uses of our money than more drilling.
There's another reason why we won't be drilling offshore anytime soon even if Congress lifts the ban--there aren't enough ships to do it:
But even as oil trades at more than $135 a barrel — up from $68 a year ago — the world’s existing drill-ships are booked solid for the next five years. Some oil companies have been forced to postpone exploration while waiting for a drilling rig, executives and analysts said.Now this applies to deepwater drilling, but that's where most of the new exploration is taking place.
Demand is so high that shipbuilders, the biggest of whom are in Asia, have raised prices since last year by as much as $100 million a vessel to about half a billion dollars.
“The oil reserves that were easy to reach are all drying up,” said Harris S. Lee, vice president in charge of Samsung’s offshore drilling rig business. “The future is in exploring the deep seas and harsh environments.”Look, if oil companies want to continue searching for new places to drill, that's okay, as long as we stop subsidizing them with taxpayer dollars, and as long as the locals get to have a say in whether they want oil rigs off their shores. Here in Florida, we don't, largely because a huge part of our economy involves people coing to the beach for vacation. Tarballs on the sand and mercury in the mahi tends to hurt that industry, and thus hurts the tax base. What little we would gain, assuming we would gain anything at all, wouldn't offset those losses.
One other thing from the article I started with, because it's just so precious. The person that the Republicans chose to respond to Obama's statement on drilling is Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite. Why is that precious?
Two years ago, though, when Republicans controlled Congress, Brown-Waite was part of a united Florida delegation, firmly opposed to lifting a moratorium on drilling along the coast.Hypocrisy just comes naturally to them, doesn't it?
During debate on the issue in May 2006, she urged her fellow lawmakers to call their mothers and grandmothers who had retired to Florida.
"I would ask you to pick up the phone and listen to what they say," she said then. "How much they love Florida and how much they love the beaches."