McCain calls for end to federal moratoria
on offshore drilling
Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain has seen the light.
After a long record of endorsing moratoria on offshore drilling in most U.S. waters, he today chose a Houston speech to set out an energy policy that includes a proposal to end a federal ban on offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off much of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
But McCain would still give states the final say on drilling in their coastal waters. At first sight, this would seem to doom McCain's proposal to the realm of campaign rhetoric. Historically, many state governors have been opposed to opening their waters for exploration and production--including President Bush's brother Jeb when he was Governor of Florida.
Though local opposition to offshore drilling remains strong, gas at $4.50 and up a gallon seems to be changing a few minds, besides which McCain has promised incentives to persuades states to allow drilling.
What caused McCain's change of mind? "As for offshore drilling, it's safe enough these days that not even Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could cause significant spillage from the battered rigs off the coasts of New Orleans and Houston," he said.