Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bush Trying To Secure Last Minute Deals for Oil

Bush has directed the Department of Interior to explore for oil off the coast of Virginia. Ken Salazar will be the new head of the Interior. Obama promises an overhaul for that department. Some environmental groups are wary of Salazar, who appears to be another pragmatist. See the video below on that.  
CNN: As the price of gas surged past $4 a gallon this summer, U.S. drilling became a hot political issue. President Bush responded by repealing a presidential offshore drilling ban put in place by his father. Then in October, a gridlocked Congress let a separate drilling moratorium expire after 26 years on the books.

Back in Virginia, environmentalists echo their Southwestern counterparts, calling the offshore push a last-ditch energy grab.

"We've got an administration on its way out, trying to make its last deal for the oil and gas industry," said Glenn Besa, director of Virginia's Sierra Club chapter.

Besa pointed to what he sees as a platoon of red flags.

"The Navy has a lot of operations out there, in the area where this drilling takes place," he said, "And the North Atlantic right whale, there's only 300 or 400 of those individual whales left, and they migrate through that area as well."

The Navy has expressed concern about the prospect of drilling rigs in the area where much of its Norfolk fleet trains. NASA has objected as well because it launches satellites and low-altitude rockets from its facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.

The state's Democratic governor, Tim Kaine, asked the Interior Department to let Virginia research possible natural gas reserves. But the agency went further, opening the process for oil and gas leasing.

Luthi defends the move without hesitation. "Oil and gas are going to continue to be a major part of our energy needs in this country," he said, "for at least the next generation."
Some nervous about Salazar: