President Barack Obama’s plan announced Wednesday to allow offshore drilling is driven largely by the politics of climate change and energy, not getting more oil and natural gas, according to the Los Angeles Times.
According to the newspaper, the White House sees its new drilling plan as a way to curry favor with Republicans and moderate Democrats, whose support will be critical for comprehensive energy and climate change legislation. A small bi-partisan group of senators is quietly seeking support for a compromise cap and trade bill.
Under the new plan, Obama proposed to begin moving toward drilling off parts of the Atlantic and Alaskan coastlines—along with the Eastern Gulf of Mexico—in areas that have been off-limits to oil and gas exploration for up to three decades.
“It’s still a relatively minor amount relative to the oil and natural gas that we import,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters after the announcement. “This is not the panacea, and it’s not the answer to the issues that we face in this country.”