Offshore drilling for oil might not be the long-term answer to this nation's energy needs, but it is critical for continued economic growth and strong national security.
Given that, President Obama should be applauded for making the decision to allow expansion of offshore drilling. Obama is opening up water along the East Coast -- from Delware to Florida -- and Alaska to drilling. The president would also like Congress to lift a drilling ban in the oil-rich eastern Gulf of Mexico.
"The answer is not drilling everywhere all the time," Obama said while at Andrews Air Force Base last week. "But the answer is not, also, for us to ignore the fact that we are going to need vital energy sources."
Obama's plan for drilling is narrower than the one pushed by former President Bush. Nevertheless, Obama -- predictably -- drew scorn from environmentalists.
"Today's announcement is unfortunately all too typical of what we have seen so far from President Obama -- promises of change, a year of 'deliberation,' and ultimately, adoption of flawed and outdated Bush policies as his own," Brendan Cummings, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a news release. "... Short of sending Sarah Palin back to Alaska to personally club polar bear cubs to death, the Obama administration could not have come up with a more efficient extinction plan for the polar bear."
That's an overreaction. Obama's plan appears to be seeking a balance.
Obama is not, nor should he be, advocating drilling with reckless abandon. Obama has declared off limits -- at least for now -- the entire Pacific seaboard and Alaska's Bristol Bay. In the future, it might be prudent to expand drilling even further under the right circumstances.
But right now Obama is offering a pragmatic approach that accepts the reality that this nation needs new sources of energy.
Obama, a Democrat, is taking a political beating from environmentalists and the far left, but he is showing Republicans he is willing to compromise on environmental issues.
Yes, it is also politically motivated. Obama is seeking Republican support for some of his other policies. So what? Obama is a politician as are the members of Congress.
We see this effort to compromise and cooperate as positive. The nation's energy policy is critical to our future as it is linked to our economy and our security.