Coming Controversies


Riding into the office today, I was kind of surprised to read an op-ed in Washington Times by Tom Bethell calling for offshore drilling along the East and West coast of the Unites States:

Among other changes, the White House should make the case for opening the East and West Coasts to offshore oil and gas exploration, as Fred Smith’s Competitive Enterprise Institute has argued. The last offshore spill was in 1969 and the enviros have ruled that roost since.

We’ve all heard plenty about the pros and cons of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve over the last few Congresses, and in there was some controversy, as Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ran for reelection in 2002, as to whether President Bush would push for offshore drilling along Florida’s coast. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour wanted to expand oil operations off the Gulf Coast in the months before Katrina. And now it seems likely that drilling up and down the Atlantic and Pacific coasts will become part of our energy debate, no doubt due to the rising cost of gasoline.

Pat Cleary of Red State adds word that an organized lobbying effort to open up the outer continental shelf to drilling is now getting underway. One of the groups involved is the Consumer Alliance for Energy Security — I can’t say I was particularly impressed by their grassroots members, which, by my count, consisted of four executives from trade associations, six current or former business executives, one former Republican party activist, one union rep, and one farmer. As for the National Ocean Industries Association, it appears that they have something of an institutional bias when it comes to these questions.