Licensed to Drill


My friends, our long national nightmare is over.

The House voted Tuesday to lift the federal moratorium that has blocked drilling along most of the U.S. coastline for three decades and give states a greater role in choosing whether to have oil rigs off their shores.

What say you, John Boehner, having run an historically aggressive campaign against Democrats for dragging their heels on this?

When a bill gets filed at 9:45 the night before and then it's announced it's going to come to the floor the next morning as the first bill up, a bill that no one has read, written in the dark of night that won't do a damn thing about American energy.

Boehner's point is that the bill, which did end the 26-year old ban on offshore drilling, was sweetened with $18 billion of oil company tax hikes, tax credits for alternative energy development, a requirement that utilities generate 15 percent of energy from non oil-sources, and a ban on gifts from oil companies to federal employees. The Democrats caved on drilling, but not on any other item in their agenda. And they have, apparently, taken the air out of a key Republican issue less than 50 days before the election, when the nation is focused on something else entirely.

UPDATE: As commenters point out, this legalization doesn't include the 50 miles closest to the shores.

Republicans called the bill a ruse, saying that's well beyond where most of the estimated 18 billion barrels of oil is located.

The White House threatened a veto, saying the bill doesn't go far enough to generate new domestic supplies of oil and natural gas.

Nonetheless, I think the Republicans are losing the wedge issue: Now Democrats are saying "drill here," and Republicans are saying "no, drill here." And, again, it's happening as prices at the pump drop and a Republican administration nationalizes AIG.