The issue of whether or not to drill for oil and gas along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts has come to a head again, this time in a Senate’s vote Wednesday against keeping the Bush-era offshore drilling policy in place. Could it be that, by shooting down this policy, Senators opened the door for a new, greener Obama-era offshore drilling policy?
According to a report by the Boston Globe, the Senate voted 56-to-42 against a proposal, by Republican Senator David Vitter, that would have kept the soon-to-expire (in 2012) offshore drilling plan. If accepted, the proposal would have blocked the Obama administration from creating its own offshore drilling policy. (The Bush administration implemented the old plan on its last day in office last summer, as gas prices soared and Republicans advocated offshore drilling as a solution for dependence on foreign gas and oil.)
Experts are unsure what policy will replace the old one. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar reportedly said he is in no hurry to decide about allowing offshore drilling, and the Interior Department has yet to determine whether or not to instate a new five-year drilling plan. Analysts believe the Obama administration is unlikely to create a new plan wholly similar to the old one, although they are unsure of how it will address specifics including Outer Continental Shelf drilling.
The Interior Department has until 2012 to create a new offshore drilling policy.