The Democrats apparently are abandoning their effort to renew the Congressional ban on drilling for oil on the outer continental shelf.
Is that good news? It’s a stunning reversal from what was being reported just a day or two ago, and it can’t be bad. But whether expiration of the ban will lead to more energy development any time soon remains to be seen. Maybe they’re counting on their friends in the environmental lobby to stop drilling with litigation for a generation to come. But it can only be good that the Democrats are reading the polls and aren’t prepared to face the voters as the party that is trying to drive energy costs higher.
UPDATE: House Republicans are trumpeting this as a great victory, as well they should. If they hadn’t held their protest in the House chamber and otherwise promoted the energy issue, the Democrats would have gone through with their plan to extend the ban and keep gas prices as high as possible.
One thing I hadn’t realized is that the ban applies not only to the OCS, but also to Rocky Mountain shale oil development. Shale oil has the potential to be even bigger than offshore drilling as as energy resource; America’s shale oil resources dwarf Saudi Arabia’s oil. But it will take longer to get shale oil flowing.
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