Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Drilling Offshore: Solving our Energy Crisis?

Today, President Obama announced that the U.S. will approve significant oil and gas exploration off America's coasts.

"Given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth and produce jobs and keep our businesses competitive, we're going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy," Obama said. This new focus becomes part of a new energy policy that relies more on American energy sources that are cleaner and more sustainable.

Although this plan continues America’s use of dirty fossil fuels in the short run, it is a great first step to becoming an energy-independent country and having less dependence on foreign oil in the long run. We already waste significant amounts of money paying other countries for their sources of fuel that we, up to now, have given up on American sovereignty. This has made us a weaker nation, especially financially.

This new plan, however, does not mean that Obama supports the notion that we “can simply drill our way to energy security”, as many Republicans claim. Instead, it shows real presidential leadership that lies in providing comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation that ends our reliance on foreign oil and puts Americans back to work.

Not only will this create thousands of new jobs for the coastal states, such as Virginia, but it would also generate millions of dollars in revenue and further reduce our reliance on foreign energy sources and help us invest in alternative sources of fuel.

While opponents, including many Democrats and environmentalists, disapprove any new offshore drilling and proponents, including a majority of Republicans and Independents, advocate opening all U.S. waters to energy exploration, Obama has found a solid middle ground to increase our domestic energy production and demands for stricter limits on greenhouse-gas emissions.

It is a compromise to ensure our energy policy improves. It is a compromise that shows support for a new bipartisan bill that, in addition to spending $84 billion on the development of better batteries and energy-and-fuel saving technologies, would have allowed for drilling for oil and natural gas on American soil.

That’s what you call bipartisan.

This solution to our energy crisis is only temporary, but a crucial development while we look up alternative sources that are less costly and more environmentally friendly.

It is still a work in progress, but it emphasizes Obama’s willingness to keep our businesses competitive and solve our energy needs. It shows a willingness to listen to the American people and promote stronger initiatives that will help make the U.S. a stronger and better country. It helps secure support for a strong climate change bill in Congress.

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