White House press secretary Dana Perino told reporters this morning that President Bush intends to rescind the presidential moratorium on offshore drilling, established in 1990 by his father, George H.W. Bush, in response to the devastating Exxon Valdez oil spill.
The presidential moratorium, extended by President Clinton to 2012, adds executive-branch weight to the Congressional moratorium on lease sales in the Outer Continental Shelf. Lease sales off the coast of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico — where the great majority of recoverable oil can be found — have continued. In fact, in 2007, Bush “lifted the ban on offshore drilling in Bristol Bay” in Alaska, opening up its valuable waters to potential environmental and economic catastrophe. Bush’s action is intended to put pressure on Congress to follow him in “capitulation to the oil companies.”
Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.
Today’s action shows Bush truly intends that message to be his legacy.
UPDATE: To support this reckless plan, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told the Washington Post a tired lie:
I think people are reassured that not a drop of oil was spilled during Katrina or Rita. Those rigs in the Gulf, there was not a single incident of spillage that anyone reported.
The hurricanes, unsurprisingly, caused major onshore and offshore spills. Like Sen. McCain (R-AZ), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, Mike Huckabee, George Will, and Bill O’Reilly, McConnell is lying.
UPDATE II: At Energy Smart A Siegel takes down President Bush’s radio address in support of offshore drilling:
George says that additional OCS drilling “could produce enough oil to match America’s current production for almost ten years.” He forgets to mention that that “could” is a “maybe, perhaps, best case” as to that amount of production (that all those birds in the bush will become birds in Bush’s hands) and that this production would be over decades of time, even into the 22d century. At what point does truthiness and disingenous arguments simply become lying?
UPDATE III: At Campaign for America’s Future, Bill Scher notes:
Bush’s Rose Garden statement was artfully crafted. He lamented the high price of gas. He called for drilling off the coasts to “expand oil production.” But if you watch closely, you’ll notice Bush did not explicitly claim that coastal drilling would significantly lower the price of the gas. Because it won’t.
UPDATE IV: Boztopia‘s Martin Bosworth writes:
Americans are smarter than we are often given credit for, and many of us do realize that destroying precious environmental resources and wildlife reserves to allow more domestic drilling is a psychological panacea — a placebo to make us feel like “something is being done.”