Week of March 29 – to – April 2, 2010
Why did he do it? That was the question many people asked this week after President Obama endorsed offshore oil and gas drilling along the Atlantic Coast, from Delaware to central Florida, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s north coast. The announcement follows 14 months of aggressive pro-green policies by the Obama administration.
President Obama justified his decision as an extension of his ongoing “pan-energy” policy, in which renewable energy is one prong and the development of next-generation nuclear reactors and exploration for new oil reserves is the other.
Politically, after a bruising, yearlong fight in Congress over health care, the Obama administration sees offshore drilling as a bi-partisan issue that could get Republicans to support a comprehensive climate change and energy bill. Will it? That’s hard to predict, as Republicans, saying his move doesn’t go far enough, quickly criticized the president for maintaining the ban on much of the Pacific Coast. His decision, not surprisingly, also angered the environmental community.