Posted by MataHarley on 2 August, 2008 at 11:00 am. 26 comments already!

Comes as no surprise that Obama reconsiders oil in an energy package, as I’m sure the handlers are ever keeping an eye on poll opinions on energy.

His restrictive energy plan, consisting of alternative energies only, isn’t going to fly in the face of Americans’ financial reality, so BHO has reversed course and said he would accept an expansion of offshore oil drilling as long as it was part of a broader package of measures that would free the logjam of energy bills in Congress.

“My interest is in making sure we’ve got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices,” Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said in an interview with the Palm Beach Post. “If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well-thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage — I don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t get something done.”

But he has a few caveats…

Obama, through his Senate office, issued a written statement welcoming a proposal sent to Senate leaders Friday by 10 senators — five from each party — that would lift drilling bans in the eastern Gulf of Mexico within 50 miles of Florida’s beaches and in the Atlantic off Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, but only if the states agree to oil and gas development along their coasts. The states would share in revenue from the development.

Drilling bans along the Pacific coast and the Northeast would remain in place under the compromise.

The compromise “would repeal tax breaks for oil companies so that we can invest billions in fuel-efficient cars, help our automakers re-tool, and make a genuine commitment to renewable sources of energy like wind power, solar power, and the next generation of clean, affordable biofuels,” Obama said.

Even were they able to hammer out an agreement including these caveats, would that inspire Pelosi and Reid to allow debate and votes? And since Pelosi’s sent the House home for vacation, anything happening prior to election is highly unlikely, and perhaps under the current POTUS, even more unlikely.

Instead, Democrats crafted a rhetorical answer to the GOP’s drilling campaign, calling on companies to begin oil drilling on the millions of acres both on- and offshore that have already been leased to them but remain untapped. Obama has taken up that line as part of his standard stump speech.

But with rising gasoline prices, polls indicate voters increasingly side with the Republicans, even here in Florida, where opposition to offshore drilling has always been strong. McCain switched his own position on the issue earlier this year, as did Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), who had also been opposed.

“It’s clear that members of both parties are following John McCain’s leadership toward an ‘all of the above’ approach on energy that includes nuclear, alternative energy, and off shore drilling,” McCain’s campaign said in a statement. “We hope Barack Obama will realize that his ongoing opposition to John McCain’s realistic energy solutions and additional off shore drilling is wrong.”

Again, the language here is laden with failure, as those existing leases are not located in the UTRR areas with plentiful oil supplies. In this way, the DNC can “appear” to be flexible, while in fact, they are not. Below is the map of the current leases. See the full page with legend of lease and production status here.

Now compare the existing land leases to the UTRR oil resource map that Mike’s A provides from his blog.

The question is, are the offshore leases – like the land leases – also located in the areas that are non-productive? Before Congress places this caveat on the oil companies, they’d better prove to the US citizen that the leases they want enforced are actually fruitful locations.

Considering the timing (unless an emergency summer session is called), and the House and Senate leadership’s schoolyard bully stance on moving energy bills, Obama is politically astute to the benefits of this change of heart. By lending his support to an “all of the above” style bill, he can appear bipartisan. But he can also rest easy that the House and Senate leadership are unlikely to allow such a bill to come to pass.

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