The passage of health care legislation in the United States has prompted many questions on whether the Obama administration will now do anything about climate change. The latest indication is not a promising one. They have decided to:
end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.
Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.
It is easy enough to see how domestic politics and concern about fossil fuel imports could drive such a decision. That being said, this is another example of the heroin junkie approach to energy policy – when some veins get withered from overuse, start injecting into others rather than working to break the addiction.
The United States and the world would almost certainly be better off if Americans had the foresight to leave these fuels underground while moving aggressively to an economy based on clean and renewable forms of energy.
[Update: 2 May 2010] See also: The cultural significance of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill