McCain Calls Offshore Drilling ‘Alternative Energy’

This morning, CNBC’s Larry Kudlow asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) what his plan was “to create some recovery in the stock market.” McCain replied:

Keep taxes low, cut spending, create jobs with alternative energy including nuclear power plants, including drilling offshore, wind, tide, solar, free us from our sending $700 billion or whatever it is across to countries that don’t like us very much, free up credit.

Watch it:


Even though the term “alternative energy” is vague, under no rational interpretation does the entirely conventional practice of offshore oil drilling qualify. As the ExxonMobil website describes the offshore areas that were formerly covered by the 27-year moratorium lifted this month, those reserves are “conventional”:

The U.S. Minerals Management Service estimates that these areas contain an estimated 18 billion barrels of conventional oil and 76.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Perhaps McCain is implying that increased domestic oil production is an “alternative” to imports from countries like Canada, Mexico, and other “countries that don’t like us very much.” This is also nonsense. As has been pointed out many times and in many places, “crude oil production could be increased at most between 1 and 3 million barrels per day, on top of the 5 million barrels a year already produced domestically. The United States currently consumes about 20 million barrels annually, so an expansion of domestic drilling would make barely a dent in that amount unless consumption also is reduced.”