NO DRILLING OFF FLORIDA’S COAST
Republican presidential hopeful John McCain’s proposal to lift a ban on offshore drilling riled some Black Floridians this week, who argued that such a plan would do nothing to ease their current pain at the gas pump.
The proposal also brought an outcry from presidential hopeful Barack Obama and state Democrats. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist reversed his earlier stance on drilling off the Florida coastline and decided to side with McCain, who has said his energy plan would only have a “psychological impact” on Americans.
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), drilling would have no impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production until about 2030.
“It would be a relatively small effect, because it would take such a long time to bring those supplies on,” Guy Caruso, who heads the federal EIA, said Wednesday. “It doesn’t affect prices that much.”
Republicans push to lift drilling ban
The National Petroleum Council estimates that five billion barrels lie off Florida’s coast alone, while the Energy Information Administration suggests the number is closer to 16 billion barrels. Other estimates go as high as 21 billion barrels.
President Bush last week urged Congress to lift a decades-old ban on offshore oil drilling to reduce dependence on foreign imports and offset the high energy prices. McCain said states should be allowed to pursue energy exploration in waters near their coasts and get some of the royalty revenue.
Crist urged federal lawmakers last year to reject legislation, which they did, that would have allowed drilling as close as 45 miles off Florida’s beaches. He also supported the moratorium during his 2006 campaign for governor.