Civil libertarians have long complained that, as soon as he got into office, President Barack Obama appeared to morph into former President George Bush on everything from surveillance policies to blocking investigations of torture. Now, environmentalists may join that chorus of criticism with Obama wanting to lift a 20-year ban on drilling off the Virginia coastline — as well as to open large areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
Obama insists that the answer is “drill, baby, drill” — to paraphrase the GOP — and that such development is needed “[t]o set America on a path to energy independence, the president believes we must leverage our diverse domestic resources by pursuing a comprehensive energy strategy.”
He also wants the Interior Department to survey other areas along the Eastern shore for drilling and exploration. These are sensitive areas already dealing with threats caused by pollution.
This was one of the issues that environmentalists pressed Obama on when he was running for president, here. At the time, in relation to the same question regarding Florida’s coast, he said “when I’m president, I intend to keep in place the moratorium here in Florida and around the country that prevents oil companies from drilling off Florida’s coasts. That’s how we can protect our coastline and still make the investments that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and bring down gas prices for good.”
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