it's not exactly chocolate cake...,
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We could cheaply power entire ...,
What exactly is politically shortsighted about taking away your opponent's shiny new cudgel and giving him nothing in return? Lifting the offshore ban is just free money if you take the cudgel and use it to jack up the lease rate schedule - or, heaven forfend, using it to get some minimal energy re-regulations (call it "deregulation" if you want, for joy) passed to combat global warming - there are some good ideas here along those lines - nevermind cutting the absurd oil production subsidies. Have they even normalized the tax incentive for wind yet? We'd be building more wind power faster, I suspect, if we just agreed to do nothing at all instead of passing temporary willy-nilly tax breaks that get applied one year and then abandoned the next.
Little to nothing other than the leasing of some ocean surface would occur for years after the lifting of the ban, for the simple lack of the equipment to do anything. That's exactly what Democrats argue: so, uh, why not lift the ban? It's just free money, ain't it? The fed gets $2 an acre, oil execs get to boost their reserve numbers and pocket those options for oil they'll never have to drill.
If the environmental costs of greenhouse gas emissions are not priced in by some mechanism by the time they're actually drilling offshore, making the drilling even more cost prohibitive than it already is, then we're pretty much toast anyway. The fact that there's only some 18 billion barrels that will have no effect on gas prices, that there's 70 million acres of dirt-cheap leases already going undeveloped, and that the first environmental disaster off the coast of, say, Virginia or, uh, Lousiana, would presumably lead to state-level moratoriums on the drilling anyway, makes the political confrontation little more than staged theatre. That is to say, every argument Democrats offer to defend the ban is just as serviceable as an argument that the ban is otherwise meaningless symbology, but as a stick that beats them conveniently about the head as they studiously avoid any action that might actually damage the industry's interests.
update: oh my:
The proposed bill, from [Obama's] point of view, offers some attractions. It would strip oil companies of $30 billion in tax breaks, renew tax breaks for solar and wind power, and give consumers a tax credit to buy electric or fuel cell cars.
It's been a while since I felt like I was being directly pandered to, and with such rapid turnaround. Still, though, I'm concerned that people haven't read Gar Lipow's book, among the other fine sources of negawatt evangelism. It's always about handing out buckets of cash to this or that energy source, not reducing our use of the stuff.