New Yorker on McCain, Offshore Drilling;

Elizabeth Kolbert has a great comment in the most recent New Yorker laying bare the offshore drilling issue- and McCain’s saddening campaign:

“Late last month, Senator John McCain went up with a new television ad, titled “Pump.” The ad begins no place in particular with a gasoline pump, circa 1965. “Gas prices—four dollars, five dollars,” a female narrator intones, as the numbers on the pump’s front panel spin. “No end in sight, because some in Washington are still saying no to drilling in America, no to independence from foreign oil.

“Who can you thank for rising prices at the pump?” the narrator asks. She leaves the question hanging, while a recording from a recent political rally grows louder and louder. “Obama! Obama!” the crowd screams.

How important is it for candidates to tell the truth…

…The Department of Energy estimates that there are eighteen billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in offshore areas of the continental United States that are now closed to drilling. This sounds like a lot, until you consider that oil is a globally traded commodity and that, at current rates of consumption, eighteen billion barrels would satisfy less than seven months of global demand. A D.O.E. report issued last year predicted that it would take two decades for drilling in restricted areas to have a noticeable effect on domestic production, and that, even then, “because oil prices are determined on the international market,” the impact on fuel costs would be “insignificant.” Just a few months ago, McCain himself noted that offshore resources “would take years to develop.” As the oilman turned wind farmer T. Boone Pickens has observed, “This is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of.”

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