President’s oil drilling plan could clear path for climate/energy bill

| 4/2/2010

President Obama unveiled a new oil drilling strategy this week of drilling into offshore reserves that have been protected for decades. The plan may appease Republicans and clear the path for climate and energy legislation that likely will directly affect trucking businesses.

Mike Joyce, OOIDA director of legislative affairs, said the president’s announcement was made in front of an Air Force fighter plane for a reason – to show that offshore drilling may increase domestic oil production and help the U.S. buy less foreign oil, thereby bolstering national security.

The announcement, Joyce said, may help Congress push through a new combined climate change and energy bill.

“President Obama, quite frankly, is using this as an olive branch to some conservative Republicans that had echoed the sentiment of ‘drill baby drill!’ during the last election,” Joyce told Land Line Now host Mark Reddig on Thursday. “He’s tapping into that as goodwill to potentially get a climate change bill passed, although Republicans were responding cautiously to the proposal following the announcement.”

Senators John Kerry, D-MA, Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and Joe Lieberman, I-CT, have been working together on a climate change proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions that wouldn’t include cap and trade. Cap-and-trade systems allot emissions limits by industry and create a stock market-like trading system by which companies could buy and sell credits needed to meet emissions limits.

OOIDA’s Washington D.C. office will be working to ensure the concerns of truckers are heard by Sens. Kerry, Graham and Lieberman, Joyce said.

“The new climate change proposal would probably involve the trucking industry and transportation industry much more closely than a cap-and-trade proposal or EPA regulation may have,” Joyce said. “But we’re hopeful to meet with those three senators at some point in the next several weeks.”

Joyce said production numbers will shift slightly toward more U.S.-supplied oil and natural gas, and experts believe the White House’s proposal could supply the nation with enough oil to power the country for several years.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer