A Modest Proposal on Offshore Drilling for Oil

Obama Shifts, Says He May Back Offshore Drilling by MIKE GLOVER, , August 1, 2008
(AP Photo/Mike Carlson: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. answers an audience member’s question, Friday, Aug. 1, 2008, during a town hall meeting in St. Petersburg, Fla.)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Friday he would be willing to support limited additional offshore oil drilling if that’s what it takes to enact a comprehensive policy to foster fuel-efficient autos and develop alternate energy sources.

Shifting from his previous opposition to expanded offshore drilling, the Illinois senator told a Florida newspaper he could get behind a compromise with Republicans and oil companies to prevent gridlock over energy.

Republican rival John McCain, who earlier dropped his opposition to offshore drilling, has been criticizing Obama on the stump and in broadcast ads for clinging to his opposition as gasoline prices topped $4 a gallon. Polls indicate these attacks have helped McCain gain ground on Obama.

“My interest is in making sure we’ve got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices,” Obama said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

“If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage _ I don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t get something done.”

I imagine everyone who read the above news dispatch was as disappointed as I was to hear Sen. Obama pander this way. I thought Obama, of all people could be on the better side of angels on this issue and point out that any oil that we get from drilling offshore, like in ANWR:

1). is likely to be negligible;

2). will not come online to help us out of the current energy crisis;

3). there’s no guarantee that Exxon and the other cartels would sell anything that is found there to American consumers;

4). if oil is found, it’s just more revenue for the oil cartels that are now funding John McCain’s campaign of personal destruction against Obama;

There are more sensible arguments that could be made against the Republican trope of drilling offshore in the U.S. as answer to challenges to our sources of energy. Obama, I thought, would be the person to make the argument. Unfortunately, since Sen. Obama has now let this pander genie out of its bottle, we should make the best of it.

Before I lay out my modest proposal, I should say that I don’t know anything about oil, I don’t begin to understand peak oil, and that my proposal has been thoroughly panned by everyone I have told it to. And let me also add that I realize that there is no consensus on any remedy to skyrocketing gas prices.

That said, here is my modest proposal:

If drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR ) we must, then all the oil we get from such exploration must be added to our Strategic Petroleum Reserve (more than 700 million barrels of crude oil that are stored in a series of caverns along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico) and kept for the nation’s emergency oil needs. Created after the 1973-74 oil embargo as a way to counter the impact a natural disaster, terrorist attack or massive embargo might have on this country’s economy, the national stockpile of oil was tapped in 1991, 2000 and 2005.

Here is how I propose to do it:

Form a national consortium to be funded by all the oil cartels. They will provide the personnel, resources, research and technology to explore and exploit this endeavor. The best part about this is that they will do it for free without any of the proceeds going to them. Their reward for doing this is to not be known as the rapacious scumbags that they are.

Such a plan will meet tremendous opposition from everywhere, especially the oil lobby. It will take tremendous courage for a politician to propose and for Congress to enact such a plan. So, why not set a up a commission to set up precisely how to implement such a plan. The only condition is that all the oil must go to the national reserve and that the cost for funding this endeavor come from the combined profits of all the oil cartels.

There, I’ve said it, up to you to debate the merits of my proposal.