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offshore drilling

By FITSNews || In what was touted as a dramatic policy shift, U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled a new plan that permits offshore drilling for oil and natural gas in certain locations along the Atlantic seaboard, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the northern shore of Alaska.

The move is (of course) political – aimed at luring reluctant Republican lawmakers into joining his administration’s efforts to pass a massive energy tax hike known as “cap and trade.”  Thus far only one Republican – S.C. Senator Lindsey Graham – is supporting the tax hike, which has run into a brick wall in the U.S. Senate after passing the House of Representatives.

One reason?  Estimates from Obama’s own Treasury Department have previously shown that “cap and trade” would raise energy prices on American families by as much as $2,000 – 4,000 a year, which is obviously the last thing Democrats want to try and sell during an election year.  Also, the so-called “science” of global warming has collapsed like a house of cards since Obama originally unveiled his proposals, meaning that the sense of urgency for a “carbon marketplaces” has evaporated.

Nonetheless, we support any expansion of America’s energy-generating potential – so long as it is not accompanied by harmful tax hikes like those envisioned under “cap and trade.”

To that end, Obama’s Interior Department claims that the areas green-lighted for drilling may contain as much as 80 percent of the available oil and gas reserves on the outer continental shelf – up to 63 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 294 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.

Good. Go get it.

Yet while Obama’s decision has enraged environmentalists, it hasn’t appeased Republicans.

“The Obama administration continues to defy the will of the American people who strongly supported the bipartisan decision of Congress in 2008 to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling not just off the East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, but off the Pacific Coast and Alaskan shores as well,” House Majority Leader John Boehner said.

Indeed, in 2008 former President George W. Bush lifted a ban his father imposed on offshore drilling – a move which was seconded by the Democratic-controlled Congress. Upon taking office last year, however, Obama suspended the Bush plan and delayed any Interior Department leases until 2011.

“Anyone who sees this as a step in the right direction should remember that President Obama still supports energy-rationing policies to address global warming that would cause electricity prices to, in his own words, ‘necessarily skyrocket,'” said Myron Ebell, director of energy policy at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

Meanwhile, Obama was also hearing crticism in his left ear (i.e. the ear that apparently works).

“Drilling our coasts will do nothing to lower gas prices or create energy independence,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune. “It will only jeopardize beaches, marine life and coastal tourist economies, all so the oil industry can make a short-term profit.”

Not surprisingly, Sen. Graham praised Obama’s announcement.

“I thought the president’s speech correctly emphasized the national security aspects of this problem,” Graham said. “He did a very good job of explaining the challenges we face and how our own national security is placed at increased risk by our reliance on foreign oil.”

Graham has seen his defense of cap and trade bankrolled by a host of secretive liberal special interest groups masquerading as conservatives.

In fact, previous “Republican” efforts to shore up support for Graham have been exposed by FITS as nothing more than “money dumps” from radical environmentalists (click here, here, here and here if you want to read the meticulously-documented stories exposing that scam). In one case, Graham’s supporters were even forced to change the name of one of the organizations attempting to pay for these ads after FITS began poking around into its ties to donors on the far, far left of the political spectrum.