Ben also blogged about what the drilling announcement may mean for climate and energy legislation.
The Los Angeles Times sees the expansion as being “driven largely by the politics of his agenda on energy and climate change -- not by hopes of changing the nation's energy supply.”
“[The] White House sees its new drilling plan as a way to curry favor with Republicans and moderate Democrats whose support will be critical if Obama is to steer his energy and climate change legislation through Congress,” the LA Times reports.
Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones questions the strategy.
“But the administration's conciliatory approach—which has largely entailed the administration giving and its congressional opponents taking—is looking increasingly like a gamble that's going to backfire,” she writes, noting elsewhere the outrage the move has created among the green community that have been among the administration’s biggest backers.
“[So] far the deal-making has been largely one-sided. The Senate remains at an impasse over climate and energy legislation. And even if Congress passes anything this year to address climate change -- a big if -- it’s not going to be as aggressive as Obama and his environmental supporters originally envisioned.”
The oil industry has a more generous take on the drilling decision.
While the plan doesn’t definitively promise new areas for drilling, and places some areas off limits for seven years, “the industry was heartened by the president's rhetorical embrace of fossil fuels, which they viewed as a change from an earlier more dismissive stance,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
“’We see it as a positive step in the right direction,’ said Jack Gerard, president and chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute, an industry lobby group,” the WSJ reports.
Meanwhile, a look ahead: yesterday’s decision to open up vast new areas offshore to oil and gas drilling will be followed today by an announcement that if less of a surprise may be no less significant, final rules that set new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks.
Environmental groups that jeered Wednesday likely will cheer today. Here's a piece Ben just posted on the topic.
The Wall Street Journal reports that carmakers had wanted to maintain the right to advertise electric vehicles as emissions free. But the administration said no, and will calculate how electricity is generated in measuring an electric car’s carbon footprint.