The Obama administration’s plan adopts some drilling proposals floated by President George W. Bush near the end of his tenure, including opening much of the Atlantic and Arctic Coasts. Those proposals were challenged in court on environmental grounds and set aside by President Obama shortly after he took office.
The first lease sale off the coast of Virginia could occur as early as next year in a triangular tract 50 miles off the coast that had already been approved for development but was held up by a court challenge and additional Interior Department review, officials said.
But as a result of the Obama decision, the Interior Department will spend several years conducting geologic and environmental studies along the rest of the southern and central Atlantic Seaboard. If a tract is deemed suitable for development, it is listed for sale in a competitive bidding system. The next lease sales — if any are authorized by the Interior Department — would not be held before 2012.
Let me put it another way: the White House is implying the promise of jam tomorrow - in reality, it's just a study to revisit the denial of jam yesterday - in exchange for jam today. Only the jam today is actually a swarm of angry wasps. Try again, Mr. President. Start with rescinding your interference with the Bush drilling permits, and expect to give up more. A lot more: your opponents are not interested in indulging the Greenies' quaint, somewhat primitive religious sensibilities.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.