Backpedaling on his March proposal, President Obama vowed last week to significantly limit the number of American offshore drilling operations for the next six months — to give the government time to assess the BP disaster and impose tougher regulations. He suspended drilling at 33 exploratory deep-water rigs in the Gulf, blocked drilling in the Arctic until summer and cancelled the sale of leases in the western Gulf of Mexico and off Virginia's coast. Is Obama on the right track to satisfy his critics? (Watch a Bloomberg discussion about Obama's drilling delay)
Good — but not good enough: The "magnitude of this spill" and BP's "utter failure" to have "sufficient contingency plans," says Matt Petersen in The Huffington Post, point to the "need to go further." And that means putting "a longer hold on deep-water offshore oil drilling," and creating "an agency with regulatory and prosecutorial experience overseeing the oil industry" that doesn't perpetuate the "cozy ways" of the Mineral Management Service (MMS).
"BP oil spill — Let's all join together and say, never again"
Surprise, surprise: Obama's flip-flop may satisfy some on the "environmental Left," says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. Were Obama a "competent executive," however, he would have "reviewed the infrastructure for regulation on drilling," and properly assessed the risks before the BP spill occurred and the problems at the MMS came to light. "If Obama hopes to get off the hook by canceling his eight-week-old drilling initiative, then he’s very much mistaken."
"Obama cancels offshore drilling lease sales"
Greater regulation hurts the industry: Obviously, "there's going to be a lot tougher regulation" from now on, says Tom Wallin in Public Radio. And whether you support that or not, increasing regulation on oil companies "casts a shadow on future U.S. oil supply," which could affect the industry "a year, two, three, four, five years from now," and significantly spike the price of oil for everyone. Is it worth it?
"Impact of new drilling plans on U.S. oil"