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article imageOp-Ed: Republicans Trying To Force Offshore Drilling On The Nation

By mridulc     Jul 26, 2008 in Politics
If the Republicans are really concerned about the rising gasoline prices they should help pass pass the bill to rise oil from the strategic reserves instead of jeopardizing the environment by blindly pitching for offshore oil drilling.
Republican Presidential candidate John McCain claims that the global crude oil prices came down by $10 as soon as President Bush ended a moratorium on offshore oil drilling. John McCain, President Bush and a majority of the Republican Senators are trying to force the Congress to pass a bill allowing offshore oil drilling. McCain believes such a step would not only decrease America's oil dependence on the Middle East nations some of which might use it as a leverage but would provide relief to the millions of citizens seething under record gasoline prices.
First of all, the price of crude oil didn't take a nose dive only because President Bush lifted a moratorium on offshore oil drilling. Infact, such a step means nothing since another moratorium issued by the Congress remains in place, which the Republicans now want to be lifted at all costs.
By itself, the move will have little impact, because Congress enacted a moratorium in 1982 that remains in place. But the step underscores the rising political pressure to address high oil and gasoline prices in the middle of an election year.
Scores of environmentalists have warned against allowing oil drilling on the already-in-dismal-state coasts of the United States. Even noted Republicans like California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have spoken openly against offshore oil drilling. The Governor completely refutes the idea that such a move would help in bringing down the oil prices in the long term and that it would only fuel the country's oil dependence at a time when it should be moving towards renewable energy.
The price of oil came down due to several reasons and most of them were results of activities outside the United States. At the time when President Bush decided to lift the moratorium other significant events also took place. The most important among them was Iranian President's statement that direct talks between the United States and Iran could be possible in the near future.
"It is possible that in the near future talks in different fields will take place with the United States," the state news agency IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying in an interview with state television late on Monday.
Another reason was America's decision to send a high ranking official to attend Iran-EU negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program. In addition the Guardian newspaper reported that US might consider opening a special interest section in Iran - the first diplomatic step of its kind in 30 years.
The Guardian has learned that an announcement will be made in the next month to establish a US interests section - a halfway house to setting up a full embassy. The move will see US diplomats stationed in the country.
Furthermore, during the same time the OPEC also announced that the global oil demand was likely to decrease due to the high oil prices.
"Market fundamentals have clearly been softening," OPEC said in its Monthly Oil Market for July. "This trend in fundamentals is expected to continue - and even gather pace - into the coming year."
OPEC's outlook adds to evidence that record-high oil prices are slowing demand in the industrialized world and follows other forecasts that a strain on supplies may ease in 2009.
The International Energy Agency also reduced its demand outlook for 2009 by 30,000 barrels per day.
The Republicans are trying to disillusion the American public by lying to them that offshore oil drilling would solve the energy crisis that the country is facing today. If they are really concerned about the high prices paid by citizens at the gas pumps then why not release oil from the strategic reserves since would have an immediate effect on the supply end as compared to allowing offshore oil drilling which could take months to start.
The environmental cost of offshore oil drilling could be enormous especially at a time when the scientists are warning about the degrading state of the coastlines. It is feared that the recent floods would further enlarge the 'Dead Zone' in the Gulf of Mexico to record levels plus the recent oil spill in the Mississippi river once again reiterates the dangers of offshore oil drilling.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Offshore oil drilling, Oil prices, John McCain, George bush