Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 10:40 pm | Fair 66º


Letter to the Editor: McCain Was for the Drilling Ban before He Was Against It

Here we go again. After nearly eight years, President Bush still doesn’t have a forward-thinking energy plan that addresses what he once called our “addiction to oil” so he proposes a half-baked plan to continue that addiction. Unfortunately, this call for more drilling will do nothing to lower gas prices or make us more energy independent, but it will jeopardize California’s economy and environment.

I find it disappointing but not exactly surprising that Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is now borrowing a page from the Bush-Cheney energy playbook. Oddly, McCain was actually for the offshore drilling ban before he was against it. He has apparently abandoned his earlier position in an effort to pander to oil companies and roll out another political gimmick like his much ridiculed proposal for a “gas-tax holiday.”

McCain has missed an opportunity to push for real solutions to our energy needs such as enhanced efficiency and alternative fuel sources. Efficiency measures are the fastest, easiest way to lower gas prices and encourage energy self-sufficiency, and we have to develop alternatives to fossil fuels. Despite the fantasy being spun by Bush and McCain, we simply can’t drill our way to energy independence when we have only 3 percent of world resources but make up 25 percent of world demand. As evidence of the futility of this way of thinking, in the last eight years the Bush administration has opened huge swaths of public lands to drilling already and dramatically increased the amount of drilling on public lands yet oil prices have continued to rapidly rise. Now the oil companies are sitting on nearly 70 million acres of public lands where they could be, but are not, producing already. One of the results of this dead-end strategy is today’s $4-a-gallon gasoline.

We need real leadership to address our energy needs, not political gimmicks and recycling bad ideas that have repeatedly failed in the past. I am confident that Congress will provide real leadership on this issue by upholding the ban on new drilling off our coasts and pursuing true energy independence through enhanced efficiency and alternative energy solutions.

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara

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