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Offshore oil, cap and trade, Obama

Our Readers Who Comment have strong, opposing views about whether off-shore drilling for oil should be expanded, as President Obama proposed yesterday. More than 1,500 comments have come through the ether in response to various versions of the main news story, an article on mixed reaction in Virginia, one of the areas targeted for expansion, and a Post editorial supporting the President's decision.

As Juliet Eilperin and Anne E. Kornblut write, "the White House's key audience -- undecided senators who will determine whether a climate bill succeeds on Capitol Hill this year -- suggested that the move had helped revive the legislation's prospects."

Some readers who say they voted for Obama express outrage at his decision; others cheer it. Some worry about the environmental effects; others note that the biofuel business hasn't exactly been easy on the environment either. An online Post poll is dead even on the question of whether offshore drilling should be allowed. While that result is interesting it comes from what the professionals call a "self-selecting sample" and lacks the validity of scientific polling. But it is clear we haven't heard the last on this one.

We'll start with comments on Anita Kumar's Virginia reaction story.

jonesey1 wrote, "This is payback because Virginia elected that clown [Republican Gov. Robert F.] McDonnell. Obama is playing dirty and it's the VA coastline that will suffer if there's a spill."

AlbyVA said, "Drill baby Drill... If all you leftists want to do something about being reliant on foreign oil, then we need to find about 12/million barrels of oil per day in domestic US waters. otherwise, we gotta import it from countries who hate us."

To which Single_Payer replied, "You right wingers are such idiots. What do you think we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan for? democracy? This is Obama's carrot for right wingers to sign off on cap and trade. Of course that term is being changed because right wingers are allergic to it."

jgluke wrote, "Using our oil more efficiently would probably save more than we'd find out there. Of course, that would mean less money for big industry so there's no incentive for that."

MyTwoSense1 said, "I live in VA. This is a great idea I am happy Obama FINALLY did something right. We need to use our own Oil, drilling is safe and will provide much needed jobs to the area. Again I'm all for it..."

But merganser predicted "... there will be no drilling off VA coast anytime soon, and likely not for decades. Why is this? First, companies have to bid on the leases, which after jumping through the procedural requirements and being blocked by lawsuits will be 2015 at the earliest. The[n]... they have five years to begin exploration activity and the leases will be 7-10 years total. Perhaps a few test wells will be drilled, but unlikely anything more. The reason is that there is no infrastructure in place. It will cost hundreds of millions just to build the pipelines to transport the natural gas and/or oil to shore, and about the same if not more to build the platforms. Few companies have this capital to tie up and those that do and want to increase domestic production will drill in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, where there are known reserves far greater and nearby infrastructure... So the leases will expire in the 2020s and there will be nothing but a bunch of what ifs..."

AReaderOutsideTheBeltway wrote, "This will be good for everyone. Technology has come a long way. The writer doesn't seem to understand that the money will come, not from the oil, but from the land-based support services that will grow as drilling and production begin. Drilling rigs employ more than 100 people and even more people are involved in feeding them, transporting crews and supplies and dozens and dozens of other services that the oil industry needs. Royalties are a very small part of the economic picture. Nice job, President Obama."

notboughtandpaidfor said, "I'm not even angry anymore..I'm just sad...I campaigned for Obama, donated to Obama, and I voted for Obama. I have been duped, misled, lied to, used and cheated. He is no better than Tom Delay ( hell, at least HE could get things done)..[...] Turn the treasury printing pressed over to Boehner and McConnell...let them feed their scum corporate contributors so that they can then hit them up for more money..."

lskloven1 wrote, "This is very disappointing to all of us who supported Obama. I even campaigned for him, much to my regret."

alance asked, "Why waste money overseas for oil and gas? There is likely far more oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and off Virginia than is currently estimated. Bio-fuels currently poses a much bigger risk to our planet. Ethanol has made up this country's primary alternative energy strategy for the last 25 years. It currently contributes roughly 3% to total gasoline volumes across the country. But while this has had a modest impact on energy prices, it is enough to drive up corn prices across an entire continent, and that effect is only getting started... We need to develop biofuels that can be produced from plants that don't compete for cropland..."

farmsnorton wrote, "Obama, is playing some sort of game here with the Republican party. This green energy policy will take a lot of years to make a dent in our energy demand. He has run over the Republicans and now he might need them before oil goes through the roof... He is going to put them on the spot so he can be bipartisan."

SoupLine wrote, "Destroying the Atlantic for one weeks worth of gas is absurd. With the new studies of the continental shelf will come big fat lies about the potential amount of oil it might yield. Governor McDonnel will do anything as Republicans always do, to change a peaceful environment... I never thought Obama and McDonnel would be sleeping in the same political bed."

Now a small sampling from the comments on the main story:

omaarsblade wrote, "He Always Extends a hand to the Republican Corporatist & Capitalist Groups. He tried it with Health Care and they Still Voted No, This Time, Lets See what the Republicans Do ?"

werowe1 said, "The writer writes 'is likely to anger environmentalists'. So what else is new? The environmentalists would not be happy unless everyone was riding bicycles except of course for the environmentalists themselves who consume much oil, gas, and electricity to power their non-stop lunatic lobbying efforts. Fringe."

sosueme1 wrote, "This is NOT energy policy. This IS politics. Just a feint in a unsuccessful attempt to keep Tea Partiers, independents and blue dogs mesmerized until after the mid-terms. We ain't going for the head-fake, Mister President. Wake me when the first tanker arrives at Galveston...then we'll talk..."

And kiltzg said, "He finally comprehends just how far away we are technologically from truly unsubsidized "renewable" energy, and the damage such would do to our ability to produce food."

All comments on the main story are here.

Finally to comments on the Post Editorial:

gradya3 wrote, "Add the cost of endless war in the middle east to every gallon of gas and it becomes hard to argue against developing our own supplies - as long as the greatest environmental care is taken."

gary4books wrote, "Ideally this would be a fact based decision. The President would ask "experts" if oil will be very valuable in the future or if we will have alternative sources... But it is a political decision and has very little to do with facts. One good point to all of this is the complaint that the President should get concessions from the Republicans before he gives up his concessions..."

All comments on the editorial are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  April 1, 2010; 9:27 AM ET
 | Tags: Cap and Trade, Environment, Obama, Oil  
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