John McCain has apparently now started saying that he wants states to be allowed to drill off their coastlines. According to Jim Geraghty’s Campaign Spot blog:

John McCain just completed a press conference here in Arlington, VA. Not the most chock-full of news appearance the senator has ever made, but one clear headline coming out of it — tomorrow he will call for the lifting of “the federal moratorium on states that choose to permit exploration” off their shores.

He said that in the coming weeks, he would be focusing on “America’s energy crisis” – the country’s dependence on foreign oil. Tomorrow he will call for the lifting of “the federal moratorium on states that choose to permit exploration.”

“We must embark on a national mission to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil… exploration is a step toward the longer-term goal.” The candidate repeated his advocacy of a federal gas tax holiday.

Asked about the offshore drilling, McCain responded, “Right now there’s a moratorium, and they have to be lifted. I’m not dictating to the states that they drill for oil. I’m saying the moratorium should be lifted so states can choose that option if they want to.” He added that the situation might require “additional incentives… in terms of tangible financial rewards” to states that permit drilling. He said he didn’t have a particular position at this point on an appropriate distance from the coast for offshore drilling.

Campaign Carl Cameron: Is lifting moratoria a way of addressing conservative irritation with your position on ANWR?

McCain: “I believe ANWR is a pristine area… but I also believe lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling for oil and natural gas is a very high priority.”

I kind of feel like McCain’s boxed himself into a corner on the ANWR thing and the journalist who asked him that question kind of hit the nail on the head. Here’s an opportunity to open up some clear blue water between himself and Obama on an issue which is close to the hearts of many voters, and yet he’s allowing environmentalism (not an issue likely to swing votes) to trump it.

The moratorium idea’s a good one, but the logic should be followed through with a similar position on ANWR – let the Alaskans decide if they want to drill there – who else cares? Who is ever likely to visit the area? There aren’t even any roads leading to it. Pristine it may be (the ellipsis in the quote above is Geraghty’s and not mine so I don’t know if he elaborated on that) but that isn’t an argument in itself for preventing drilling there. The bottom of the ocean may be pristine too, but if no-one’s ever going to see it I assume no-one will object to drilling for oil there.

I just came across this site, which looks interesting. Haven’t had time to explore it yet but might make it the subject of a future post.

Comments are closed

Comments are currently closed on this entry.

Comments are closed.