CBS News goes through the economic and environmental arguments for drilling protected areas as any sort of a solution to energy woes.
In my view, this proposal which emerged suddenly (meaning it was politically carefully planned) shows that McCain and the Republicans have no idea how to deal with the energy problem, but are willing to appeal to peoples’ tendency for magical or wishful thinking that a problem years in the making has a simple, easy and quick solution.
During the 1970s energy crisis, President Ford announced “Project Independence” which would make the United States 100% free or foreign sources of energy in a decade using coal, drilling for oil and oil shale. Of course it was an utter failure. Now McCain and the Republicans reach back to the failed policy of 36 years ago.
After Ford’s defeat in 1976 a truly useful energy plan passed which emphasized new sources of energy and energy efficiency. It worked. Energy consumption decreased at all levels, but it was all undone at the consumer level when the price of oil collapsed and Ronald Reagan pointedly eliminated funding for research into solar power and similar technologies. Then 25 years of what could have progress was thrown away on the reemerging gas guzzlers and building a residential infrastructure that wasted energy. Probably a trillion dollars has been spent on the wrong thing in terms of energy.
Obama is not guilt free on energy. He and many others supported the disastrous mandate to push corn ethanol. The reasons were probably as much to win the Iowa caucus than any real analysis of the food, and environmental costs of corn ethanol, plus its failure to produce net energy.
The 2008 election will determine whether the champions of new ideas will take office or stagflation and environmental destruction will increase by reelecting the proponents of doing what has always been done, which has led to this.