Big, Bad Oil

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Experts will tell you that it would be years before American consumers would seen any benefit from the proposed offshore oil drilling President Bush is attempting to push through Congress. So why is Senator John McCain (R) pushing the idea on the campaign trail as a solution to rising gas prices? ThinkProgress speculates on McCain's change of heart -- and the money he's taking in from the oil and gas industry.

Not only is McCain supportive of lifting the ban on offshore drilling -- an idea he'd previously opposed -- he wants to give oil companies a tax incentive to do it (I guess our budget crisis isn't so bad if we've got money for Big Oil!). From ThinkProgress:

 

This suite of proposals adds up to a big fat kiss to Big Oil and its conservative allies — at the expense of everyone else. Unrestrained fossil fuel use delivers obscene profits for Big Oil but is a threat to the planet. McCain’s strong talk on global warming is proving unserious — much as candidate Bush’s campaign pledge to regulate carbon dioxide in 2000 turned out to be false. At the very same press briefing, McCain backtracked from his vaunted mandatory system to reduce greenhouse gases.

Strapped for cash and surrounded by Big Oil lobbyists, McCain is now embracing Bush’s Exxon-Halliburton energy policy. Although a “megabucks” fundraiser with Midland Texas oilmen was postponed, $1.5 million in donations have already been pledged. Midland County GOP Chair Sue Brannon told the Midland Reporter-Telegram what will happen at the fundraiser: “When the 15 oilmen giving big time money meet with McCain, all we’ll ask is that he be fair.” The millions McCain is raising in Texas will be added to his impressive haul of oil industry cash this campaign season — 74 percent of his lifetime receipt.

 

They also note the large number of oil lobbyists who currently hold high-ranking posts on the McCain campaign. Now is most certainly the time to address rising energy costs, but lifting the ban on offshore drilling is a short-sighted bit of big business pandering that is both environmentally irresponsible and useless in the short-term. Shoveling money at the oil industry shifts valuable resources away from developing alternative energy which we're going to need in the near term anyway no matter how many shores we drill off of.

McCain's tried to paint himself as an environmentally conscious guy who wants to address the global climate change problem -- he shouldn't let Big Oil's campaign money push him towards endorsing this irresponsible legislation.