That any ban on offshore drilling would be lifted last week, as the BP disaster only got worse, is difficult to fathom. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the Obama administration did, which today has resulted in the approval of a new offshore oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Seriously:
Federal regulators have approved the first new Gulf of Mexico oil well since President Barack Obama lifted a brief ban on drilling in shallow water.(...)
Obama has extended a moratorium on wells in deep water like the BP one that blew out in April and is gushing millions of gallons of oil. But the president quietly lifted a brief ban last week on drilling in shallow water.
Ironically, this new oil well was approved not only as the BP disaster continues to unfold, but as President Obama is set to deliver a big speech today at Carnegie Mellon University on the state of the economy. The speech will also focus on the need to invest in renewable energy and the passage of energy / climate change legislation. For example, here is an excerpt:
The catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf right now may prove to be a result of human error - or corporations taking dangerous short-cuts that compromised safety. But we have to acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth - risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes. Just like we have to acknowledge that an America run solely on fossil fuels should not be the vision we have for our children and grandchildren.(...)
The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future. That means continuing our unprecedented effort to make everything from our homes and businesses to our cars and trucks more energy efficient. It means tapping into our natural gas reserves, and moving ahead with our plan to expand our nation's fleet of nuclear power plants. And it means rolling back billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development.
Great. However, while talk of renewables is nice, the actual action coming from the Obama administration on energy today involves approving a new offsore oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. It would be an understatement to say that is a case of the Obama administration sending mixed signals on the BP disaster and on renewable energy.