Energy Policy Debate: “To drill or not to drill?”

Since the gas price has risen above $4 a gallon in the US earlier this year, oil specifically and energy more generally has been on top of the campaign agenda. The actual substance or rather non-substance of the energy policy debate can make you wonder though. Republican Representative Michael Burgess, for example, even referred to the Paris Hilton Energy Plan on the floor of the House of Representatives saying: “Let’s have the vote. Even Paris Hilton has a plan. Let’s bring up the Paris Hilton plan.”

Also, from watching the political news and talk shows, you get the impression that it is all about drilling for oil at home. And an overwhelming majority of Americans (62%) think that off-shore drilling would indeed reduce US dependency on foreign oil, but most experts disagree.

Disregarding the question, if off-shore drilling would have a substantial effect on US energy independence, Jon Stewart looked at the question, when off-shore drilling would have an impact on the market and the gas price. According to the Energy Information Administration, Stewart notes, off-shore drilling on US coasts would have an effect on the energy supply by 2030.

The projections in the Outer Continental Shelf access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030.

FOX News as well as McCain and his supporters, however, argue that it would have an effect within a couple of months or at least in a few years.  

The Republican “drill-and-burn campaign” led New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman to accuse the McCain camp of “Know-Nothing Politics” making the Republicans the “party of stupid.” By which he means the following:

[T]he insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”

The months to follow will show if this strategy works. Judging from previous campaigns, there is a good chance that it will.  

PS: Here is a final must-watch: Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert explaining off-shore drilling.