In a reversal of a long-standing ban on most offshore drilling, President Barack Obama plans to allow oil drilling 50 miles off of Virginia and is considering opening up significant additional stretches along the Atlantic and Alaskan coasts.I know in my state of Florida, this had been a hotly contested subject, and with gas prices soaring a couple years ago, many jumped off the conservation and environmental train and boarded the Palin express, calling for drilling of oil off the coast. Obama had argued against drilling during his 2008 campaign.
Obama's plan will cover a lot of ground -- and water -- offering few concessions to environmentalists, who have been strident in their opposition to more oil platforms off the nation's shores. Hinted at for months, the move would modify a ban that has limited coastal drilling outside the Gulf of Mexico for more than 20 years.
While I can foresee this change to be fuel for the right, even though it would be for something they support, I don't necessarily believe it to be a bad thing. My problem during the 2008 campaign was that the argument from the right seemed to play off the fears of high gas prices at the expense of the environment. Their solution didn't really offer any relief, and to my understanding of the issue, relief would not be immediate. I thought that offshore drilling, in combination with other methods of energy production, could be included in a comprehensive plan to decrease foreign oil dependence, and can help ween America off foreign oil, stabilizing prices long enough for alternative fuels to be developed.