America needs a long-term energy plan in order to protect our national security, rejuvenate our economy and save our planet. The sagging economy and high gas prices have reignited George Bush's idea of offshore drilling. John McCain and the Republicans have been able to use the drilling issue to paint Obama and the Democrats as obstructionist.
You don't have to do much exploration to find that the Democrats are not the ones preventing America from achieving energy independence. Even if oil companies had immediate access to every square inch of the U.S., it would only lower gas prices a nickel 10 years from now. Obama is not against more access to rational drilling if it's done right, but the real solution to our energy problems involves a comprehensive energy program.
It is a stretch to blame the Democrats as obstructionist. The Executive Order barring offshore drilling was signed by President George H. Bush. California and Florida, where most of the potential drilling would take place, would have to approve the drilling. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is opposed to offshore drilling in California. While governor, Jeb Bush of Florida was against offshore drilling, and current Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has been against drilling until recently. The people of Florida and California understand what is at stake because an oil spill could be a disaster environmentally and economically to beaches and fisheries that would far outweigh the gains.
Politicians should not exploit the offshore issue for a political short term gain but rather take a longer view to find real solutions to our problems. Wind, solar and other untapped domestic sources of energy are the real answers. Let's invest in our most important resource — human capital and unleash American ingenuity to find permanent solutions for America and the world.