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Support Grows for More Oil Drilling

Capitol Briefing seems to have oil drilling on the brain today, perhaps because he filled up his car this morning (no, he doesn't drive a hybrid, but it's not an SUV either).

Members of Congress, of course, have been focused on the topic of high gas prices for weeks now, and that will continue when they return from the July 4th recess next week. So Republicans will surely be pleased to see a new independent poll memo with this headline: "As Gas Prices Pinch, Support for Energy Exploration Rises; More Favor Drilling in ANWR."

That's the main conclusion of a new survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Here's the first key question from that poll: "Right now, which ONE of the following do you think should be a more important priority for this country, protecting the environment, or developing new sources of energy for the country?" Sixty percent of respondents picked the second option, while 34 percent picked the first. That's an increase of six percentage points in the number of respondents choosing "new sources of energy" just since February 2008.

On the question of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the percentage of respondents favoring drilling has climbed eight points since February, from 42 percent to 50 percent. On another question, pitting more energy exploration and power plants versus "conservation and regulation," the percentage choosing more exploration and production went up 12 points.

No one should read too much into any single poll. Often, the way the questions in a survey are framed can influence the results, or either side can pick and choose which results to highlight. A recent Los Angeles Times-Bloomberg poll, for example, was zapped out to reporters by both Republican and Democratic offices on the Hill. Democrats touted that it showed respondents blamed President Bush and oil companies for gas prices, while the GOP bragged that the same survey showed a big majority favoring more domestic oil drilling.

Voters may blame a variety of culprits for their pain at the pump, but the trendline in favor of more oil drilling appears clear. Hill Democrats so far have used their majority control in both the House and Senate largely to avoid having to vote on the issue. With more polls like the new one from Pew, can they afford to keep stalling?

By Ben Pershing  |  July 2, 2008; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Agenda  
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You gotta love the idiocy of the argument that we shouldn't start drilling now in ANWR (or anywhere else!) because it could take up to 10 years to get the oil out of the ground. That's right: we shouldn't fund cancer research because the results probably won't be seen -- if at all -- for 5-15 years, and the people who have cancer now won't be helped. Yep, that's a logical stance!

Posted by: WashingtonDame | July 2, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse


What we ought to be doing is focussing on renewable energy sources not feeding our oil addiction with another "fix"

Invest heavily in renewable sources for ten years and we are well on our way to energy independence.

Posted by: JR | July 2, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Well if they both take 10 years why not do BOTH?

Posted by: ZarDotZ | July 2, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

well, here's a suggestion to Capitol Briefing: carpool to work. Take the bus. Bike more. Enact a national renewable portfolio standard - 29 states have one, in Colorado 20% of our electricity has to come from renewable sources.

And stop regurgitating Newt Gingrich's talking points.

Posted by: ColoradoPol | July 2, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised the sheeple are favoring more oil drilling - it's all the media and pols have been talking about! I keep waiting for a Democrat to reframe the debate as a call for conservation AND RENEWABLES (which was conspicuously missing from the poll), but in vain. No, it's all about drilling. Again. The fact is that conservation and renewables are the only thing that can affect the price of energy in the short-term. If we had responded to this crisis like intelligent people, we could have installed solar hot water and solar panels on millions of roofs THIS SUMMER, but we'd rather talk the problem to death or destroy the last of our wilderness. Do you realize that indigenous people still hunt and gather in the Refuge as they have done for 10,000 years? Is this not a marvelous thing? No, they're not pining for our consumer world. How could people favor more drilling when the oil companies are already sitting on countless leases they have not developed? I'm sure this was not part of the poll either. Then what? After the six months of oil in the Refuge have been consumed, what will you do?

Posted by: caroler | July 3, 2008 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Let's see, we're to believe that allowing drilling offshore and in ANWR will begin the decline in prices at the pump, and if we approve new drilling then the financial problems we now face will be over.

Do they think that drilling will change GM's position of being close to bankruptcy? Will drilling offshore help bring jobs back to our shores to help our growing force of unemployed? Will drilling in ANWR help stop the loss of species, reverse the climate change that IS happening and make Escalades and Hummers fuel efficient?

Admit it America, GWB has put this country in the toilet and now he and his enablers want to flush us down the drain.

Posted by: jmccahan | July 3, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

First off ANWR is wild life persevere. Only greedy people and gas junkies want to tap into it and destroy such a beautiful landscape like that.

Second is that we should have never and I mean never ever allowed a oil baron to take over America.

Third what wrong with us using green power? Prime example for water power is the hover dam and we have areas that we can set up solar panels that could power a city for years. Shoot every time there is a lighting storm why don't we tape that power?

If I read right cloud-to-ground strike is 100 million to 1 billion volts. Why don't we tap that also as another source of Green energy?

The Main problem is The greedy people, like Bush, don't want that because they would be broke.

Posted by: JMClark | July 3, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Do any of you remember "An Inconvenient Truth"? That plus peak oil means that no matter what you do prices will go up. The only way to reduce it is to invest heavily in: Public Transport; Energy efficiency; alternate fuels (not food based crops). An example of this is with broadband you can establish Office Hubs to cut down commute times in cities. Office Hubs have the advantages of Offices at work but with advantages of Home Office. Think Different

Posted by: guytaur1 | July 3, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

There are plenty of opinions and emotional responses on this blog that fail to carry a message that demonstrates either common sense or facts associated with our current energy crisis. Please do all the independent reading you can about the following;
1. Is George Bush also responsible for the trucker riots in England due to the high price of fuel? (Over $8.00/gal for diesel, In Germany over $10.00/gal for gasoline) How about Global demand outgaining supply or is that thought too pedestrian? When demand exceeds supply the price goes up, or is that too simple?
2. Our first stab at renewable energy- Ethanol. What a joke! Enegy invested to produce it for energy gained is about a wash. The heat value (BTUs/gal) is much less than gasoline. If you got 20 miles per gal. from gas. The same car would get 14 miles per gal from Ethanol. Furthermore, energy for Ethanol production comes from coal. How green is that?
3. ANWR is only one of many areas that can be explored. East and West Coastal areas as well as Baaken in the Dakotas. Also shale oil in Wyoming and Utah. The Technology is available to extract oil without consequence to the environment. Why is this approach potentially more harmful than the constant stream of tankers that carry oil and refined products over the ocean from foreign sources to our terminals?
4. An announcement by our Congress to allow drilling in restricted areas would be taken by the Global Market as a positive sign that the U.S. is now a producing nation rather than wholly a comsuming one. This may not lower the price of oil, but should stabilize it.

I could go on, but I hope the message is clear that the solution is complex and requires a balanced approach that includes
nuclear, renewable energy sources as well as oil exploration. Oil exploration/production is the bridge that allows us to maintain a viable standard of living while we invest time and money to bring alternative sources of energy on line.

Posted by: Independent | July 3, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

We need to start now to increase our supply of domestic oil and alternative energy. We have been listening to the same lame excuse that it will be a decade before we see any appreciable increase in supply and that may be, but we will never get there if we do not start. I think we should use great care but the time is now or never. I think people should still be encouraged to drive smaller vehicles and more fuel efficient vehicles and credits could be given to transition people to being more energy efficient in their building of homes. Appliances exist now that are more energy efficient as well. We do not have to waste fuel as we have been doing for the last 30 years especially since we have been hitting bumps in the road. If we don't force our government and private industry to stand up to the plate oil will eventually reach $7 or $8 a gallon and if you think the economy looks bad now just think what that would do to your paycheck and lifestyle.

Posted by: flcracker | July 3, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Slickered again by the oil industry.

Big multi-national oil companies won't agree to sell oil they extract off American shores because they want to sell it for the highest price they can get on the international market. They have no loyalty to America -- they only care about profits. They will need to be broken-up so there's competition again and regulated or federalized for consumers to pay fair prices again.

Posted by: Chuck | July 3, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

So... as Barack Obama retreats to the right and endorses globalism, and as we drill, drill, drill, our supply of oil does not grow, and production falls. He is falling into the trap of believing that Bill Clinton had anything whatever to do with the prosperity of the 1990s.

Why does WaPo not have more articles on the consequences of the passing of peak oil? We may have passed it, or we will in the next very few years. Projections, even the rosiest, are dire ( Market forces, globalism, capitalism... none will create new oil.

Our problem is that we ignored (and, yes, derided) Jimmy Carter. The next few years will show what a prophet he actually was, and the consequences of our cheap oil party will be serious, indeed. Malthusian die off is already taking place in sub-Saharan Africa; food riots are widespread. And we, in America, are more worried about whether GM goes bankrupt!

Whatever happens, we will deserve it.

We need to act on an emergency basis - to use all of our available remaining resources in solving this problem. That could mean new sources (including entirely new technology) of energy (Plan A), adjusting to having less available power (Plan B), or some combination. We need to be ready for Plan B, because Plan A is by no means certain, and will take considerable time in any case.

If Obama does not get it soon, he will be irrelevant, just as McSame already is.

Well, at least no one will have to turn off the lights when the party finally ends. But only because the lights going out will be what marks the end of the party.

Posted by: cwcrosby42 | July 3, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Ten years to get new oil reserves to market, and we started and went to the moon in less time over forty years. Also, what alternative renewable energy to power our vehicle is going to be our solution? I hear the response wind and solar, maybe for electrical power for our homes but for our car? I'm not aware of a viable solution to automobile issue yet, and we must be talking decades to develop and deploy a solution! In the meantime, with current technology we can drill and use petroleum products cleanly and if we don't address depending on our own substantial reserves we're playing Russia Roulette with our economy and national security.

Dems quit holding us hostage, and give us our oil!

Posted by: theaz | July 3, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it true that the oil companies have leases to drill on over 60,000 acres that they are not drilling? Increasing supplies might endanger those out of sight profits, I guess.

Posted by: jjrichard | July 3, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

As a matter of self-defense, this nation needs to start the job of furnishing adequate fuel, oil and gas, coal, wind, nuclear, and whatever else will provide energy. The most attractive is that that applies to the most people: oil and gas production, refining and development. God Bless This Nation. And God Bless those that see a way to proceed out of our mess.

Posted by: J. L. kennedy | July 3, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Energy policy should focus on both the production and conservation aspects. If a comprehensive energy policy bill that included serious and sustained development of alternative sources of energy and conservation measures also included more drilling (including ANWR, offshore, etc.) were produced then Democratic leaders should allow what would likely be an overwhelmingly successful vote. Perhaps we should experiment to see that drilling is more environmentally friendly than it used to be; otherwise how will we know for sure?

But all the Repugs ever talk about regarding energy is "drill, drill, drill." Conservation is pooh-poohed as merely a "personal virtue" (Dick Cheney's words.) Given that attitude, one can understand Democratic skepticism.

Posted by: mkarns | July 3, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

MmCXLy fjosahfjk hajkfhs jkahfshafuksahfuas f8syaifa765978thsgjknd sjkgdjksbgjkds

Posted by: 1800 | July 3, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Finding more areas to drill only further promotes procrastination in efforts to find other sources of energy.

J. Craig Venter, the geneticist genius who broke the DNA genetic code, has been working on a "bug" that eats CO2 and can generate alternative fuel for transportation without any other additives required. According to the recent article in BusinessWeek, he is about 1 -2 years away from perfecting the technology.

The recent article in the New Yorker highlighted the Danish island of Samso that has been functioning on wind energy. The article also provided insightful details about the cost breakdown analysis for wind energy.

I say we start pressuring the car manufacturers to quit building gas guzzlers, and start building cars that run on electricity or natural gas.

Drilling for more only constitutes the further degeneration of our environment, our climate, and our existance. Its bad enough we can't walk outside and take a big deep breath of air today.. we'd better start exploring alternatives so our kids and their kids can walk outside and breathe.

Posted by: IllinoisVoter | July 3, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Let's turn American skills loose to harvest our own resources and technologies--everything that is viable from woodchips to wind, to solar to biofuels (next generation) to nuclear to our own oil and gas reserves on- and off-shore. (ANWR would last 6 months, but only if we used no other sources of energy during that period.)

Posted by: NHConservationist | July 4, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I am believing,as it seems many other American citizens are believing, that we have all been sold "down the river" as regards energy for now and future generations. I will say this however. everyone seems to be mostly down on Pres. Bush and this might be rightly so; however, I remember him speaking of "America being addicted to oil" many years ago and drilling in WNWR was just one solution. He was even mocked and ridiculed when he started talking about "renewable energy for future generations." Maybe the last laugh is not on our President. (and to think...I recently donated to the Obama campaign.

Posted by: Joyce Todd | July 4, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

What liars the oil industry and their bribed supporters in our government are! While they push to exploit our resources and add more of it's toxic product into our environment, at exactly the time we need to reduce it, they are exporting gasoline and diesel fuel in RECORD amounts to the highest bidders!!

Happy Independence Day, America, land of the fools and home of the chumps!

Posted by: John Curotto | July 4, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I asked the Bismark, North Dakota Tribune newspaper if a report I heard that there was enough oil in N.D and Montana to satisfy this country's oil needs for at least 40 years was true.

I received an e-mail response 2 days ago from the Tribune saying they were reporting oil reserves in the area mentioned of 4.3 billion barrels. The Tribune wouldn't speculate on how long that much oil would last.

That seems to me to be a lot of oil, so what's the problem?


Larry Vipond
Mesa, Arizona

Posted by: Larry Vipond | July 4, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"I keep waiting for a Democrat to reframe the debate as a call for conservation AND RENEWABLES (which was conspicuously missing from the poll), but in vain."

Promoting conservation and the development of renewable energy are important initiatives that are not mutually exclusive further developing known resources.

"The fact is that conservation and renewables are the only thing that can affect the price of energy in the short-term."

This is untrue.

"we'd rather talk the problem to death..."

Precious few genuine steps to reduce oil dependence are taken. Increases in the CAFE standard taken in the 80s dramatically improved fuel efficiency in this country. A "gas tax holiday" does not address underlying problems.

"... or destroy the last of our wilderness."

Presumably, new oil wells will not occupy the entirety of our wilderness.

"Do you realize that indigenous people still hunt and gather in the Refuge as they have done for 10,000 years? Is this not a marvelous thing? No, they're not pining for our consumer world."

Such people do live sustainably by forgoing modern technology, and it is their choice to do so.

"How could people favor more drilling when the oil companies are already sitting on countless leases they have not developed? I'm sure this was not part of the poll either. Then what? After the six months of oil in the Refuge have been consumed, what will you do?"

Much oil exists whose extraction would be prohibitively expensive. For-profit entities cannot develop uneconomical reserves.

Posted by: VAmoderate | July 4, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

do you all know mcbrainless's mother is an oil heiress?

Gas Price Manipulation And Gull Island OilThree wells have been drilled, proven, and capped at Gull Island. ... Bay Alaskan oil is low in comparison to oil from other sources in the U.S., as well as ...

Global Resource Corp. - Applications - Plugged / Stripper Oil Wells- 8:08pmA microwave unit is lower into the CAPPED / STRIPPER OIL WELL CAVERN through the existing oil well drilling pipe ... EMAIL US. (4) Bureau of Land Management ...

Posted by: Katerina Deligiannis | July 4, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans and the oil companies that suckle them are adroitly fear mongering the moron majority yet again. There's nothing to be said other than Republicans are absolute geniuses at playing the fear card. However, America should not be sitting at the poker table.
Obama needs to speak up on behalf of the Democratic Party with a cohesive alternate energy policy. Detroit needs to get on the bandwagon and the suits at Ford and GM have repeatedly demonstrated there short sightedness.
It is vital that the Dems make public their plan for energy independence in detail, and it is vital for Americans to end the fascist and corrupt regimes of Republicans everywhere.
Vote, stupid. Vote for CHANGE. That you are even putting McCain on the radar just reminds me of the intellectual vacuum in this country.

Posted by: mojito | July 5, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

You gotta love the idiocy of the argument that we shouldn't start drilling now in ANWR (or anywhere else!) because it could take up to 10 years to get the oil out of the ground. That's right: we shouldn't fund cancer research because the results probably won't be seen -- if at all -- for 5-15 years, and the people who have cancer now won't be helped. Yep, that's a logical stance!

Posted by: WashingtonDame | July 2, 2008 3:59 PM


You're deliberately leaving out something important: the people who shout most loudly for domestic drilling want the solution now, and drilling won't deliver a solution now. Conservation will. It can start today. Yep, that's logical.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 7, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

America's infrastructure is based on oil. All the trucks, planes, trains, ships, that deliver all goods to market run on oil. All automobiles, as well as all the gas stations across America run on oil. All petroleum based products, run on oil. Although alternative fuels most definitely should be developed, in the mean time America must have oil to keep our economy from screeching to a halt. In addition, our national security requires energy independence ASAP, so that we are not transferring all our wealth to foreign countries who do not like us, and who can cripple us by turning off the spigot, disrupting oil transport to us, or arbitrary oil price hikes. These are all reasons why we must be drilling for more oil right now and right here in the U.S.A. ... ASAP. Nancy Pelosi and her cronies stubborn commitment to petty party politics, instead of realistic concern over our national interest, even in the face of 76% of Americans who want off shore drilling now, will end up in bringing America to its knees.

Posted by: Howard | July 24, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

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