Before the economy collapsed in the fall, Republicans were planning on using offshore drilling as a political issue against the Democrats. It was going to be the perfect issue for the Republicans where they would have an actionable policy that the Democrats refused to go along with despite the wishes of the majority of the American people. The Republicans went so far as to choose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin based almost entirely on her support of oil drilling culminating in her catchphrase of “Drill Baby Drill.”
But the Democrats did not extend the offshore drilling ban. I am still not sure if the ban was not extended because the Democrats were not organized enough to renew the ban or if they realized it was bad politics and policy.
Now it appears that Barack Obama is at least putting into practice a delay of offshore drilling for 6 months. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar put out a statement saying that the administration wanted to extend the time for “review” on offshore drilling which is just a Washington D.C. of saying delay. Ken Salazar does give legitimate reasons which he may be sincere about including studying the uses of other forms of alternative energy and reconsidering the royalty rates on offshore drilling.
Obama should be prepared for the Republicans to use this against him. The Republicans will not turn down a political issue artificially causing oil prices to be higher.