Monday, September 29, 2008

Offshore Drilling and American Political Party Stances

Since 1981, drilling in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific off U.S. shorelines has been banned under a federal moratorium. Last week, in response to high gas prices and continued dependence on an oil-based economy, the Democrat-controlled House voted 236-189 to open these offshore areas to exploration and drilling. If passed into law, the House bill would allow oil drilling 50 miles from shore with a state's permission and 100 miles from shore without a state's permission. The bill would also remove restrictions on oil shale drilling in the western United States (which the National Wildlife Federation called a "double disaster" for our climate), eliminate some tax credits currently held by oil companies, and require that 15% of U.S. energy production be by renewable sources by 2020.
The Republican view:

The McCain/Palin rallying cry has been "Drill, Baby, Drill!" House Republican leaders spent the summer holding weekly press conferences calling for resumed drilling. Sarah Palin, the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, strongly supports oil exploration in her home state's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. John McCain - who asks crowds at his campaign rallies for their support for drilling for oil wherever they happen to be standing - states that he will "cooperate with the...Department of Defense in the decisions to develop these resources," illustrating his belief that U.S. energy policy and the invasion and occupation of oil-rich nations are clearly linked.
The Democratic view:

The key word has been "compromise". House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traded support for a 27-year old moratorium on offshore drilling for slightly higher taxes on oil companies, who will likely immediately continue making record profits by passing increased costs onto customers. Instead of focusing on the need for new, truly clean energy sources, Barack Obama trumpets his willingness to work across the aisle on increasing vehicle fuel efficiency (instead of replacing polluting engines with replacement technologies) and further development of so-called "clean" coal. Obama's support for new coal development (and the mountaintop removal and strip mining we use to obtain it) is a step back to a 19th-century, not 21st-century, energy strategy.
The Green view:

We oppose the toxic and environmentally-destructive national oil-based energy strategy. We agree with the experts who insist that new sources of domestic oil could not be discovered, processed, and refined within a decade. We urge immediate investment in strategies that can have both a short-term and sustainable impact on our national energy strategy, such as solar, wind, and other non-polluting alternative energy sources.
As Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney says, "Leave the Oil in the soil." We support leaving it in the soil, ocean floor, shale, and wherever else the oil parties imagine they might find it.
Help the Green Party win investments in sustainable alternative energy sources by investing in the McKinney/Clemente campaign and the Green Party of the United States. Democrats have called for increasing investments in renewable energy sources by a paltry 15% over the next decade - we can make real changes if you pledge to increase your support of the Green Party and its candidates by 15% right now!

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