I'm betting the offshore oil drilling moratorium in the United States is toast. It expires on September 30th. And the rush among Congressional Democrats to pass a new moratorium bill is not likely to find much support in the White House.
Today the Democrats will be rolling out their proposal. It'll allow states to determine whether there can be oil wells between 50 and 100 miles offshore. Four states (Virginia, both Carolinas, and Georgia) have all indicated they would welcome offshore drilling. It's been banned for forty years. Repuiblicans have not yet seen the proposal, but they know what they don't like. And that's drilling restrictions. They want drilling within the fifty mile line as well.
So there may be some legislation that gets through the House. It might squeak through the Senate, avoiding a Republican filibuster, but not necessarily. Then it most likely gets vetoed by the President.
That means the federal government could begin selling offshore oil drilling leases on October 1 after the old moratorium expires. That means states like California where the Republican governor and Democrat-led legislature both oppose more drilling would become judicial battelgrounds. Until there is a new President, and somebody else controls the veto pen. And then? Sure seems likely a Palin administration would go for as much drilling as possible. Obama would be more likely tlo accept whatever a Democratic-controlled Congress sends him. If Republicans regain Congress and McPalin win, then it would be drill, baby, drill.
Meanwhile the Dems in Congress are trying to tack onto their bill some tax punishment of the oil companies and some subsidies for alternative energy, but it does not seem too probable this will become law directly.
Yet there's one more twist to this on-going saga. The Dems may tack their energy proposals onto a bill to pay for the Ike-aftermath. And nobody thinks the White House would veto THAT. Could it be that Hurricane Ike is gonna play Santa Claus for the green tech energy folks? Stay tuned. September 30 may be National Drill, Baby, Drill Day.