Recently, President Obama announced his plans to expand offshore drilling, exciting outrage among his environmentalist supporters. The president stated his intentions are not to abandon the effort to move America towards cleaner energy, but to take the dependency off foreign oil during the transition.

“We need to move beyond the tired debate… between those who claim drilling is a cure all and those who claim it has no place,” Obama said, in a speech.

While the bill has not been drawn up yet, it is understood that a large portion of the east coast would be opened to drilling. According to a map released by the Department of the Interior, this legislation opens areas extending from Delaware, Florida, the Gulf of Mexico and northern Alaska for oil exploration and development.

Green advocates have voiced their concern that drilling in these proposed areas will provide only modest stores of oil, while doing irreversible damage to the environment. If the bill is passed, its implementation may be slow in coming. Research will be conducted to see where exactly drilling for oil would be feasible before any refineries are created. Furthermore, it is expected that conservationists will try and bog down the process with lawsuits to slow or possibly impede the offshore drilling.

It would seem that the Republicans who voted for the mass drilling platform of the McCain-Palin campaign would support this legislation, but it is not so. Conservatives are rallying against the bill because they feel the areas opened to drilling are not large enough to warrant closing the west coast for the next few decades.

Attempts to find a middle ground in offshore drilling has been unsuccessful.

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