Off shore drilling was the focus of Obama's energy plan to meet the United States' growing energy crisis. President Obama announced Wednesday: "for the sake of our planet and our energy independence, we need to begin the transition to cleaner fuels now," in the form of "clean coal technologies and advanced biofuels,' as well as nuclear power." Obama addressed the issue at a Maryland energy security speech. Obama insists that he "know[s] that we can come together to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation that will foster new energy, new industries, create millions of new jobs, protect our planet and help us become more energy independent."
President Obama also announced plans for new leases on offshore oil drilling, despite Republican and environmental supporters' opposition. Obama furthered plans to allow oil and natural gas drilling 50 miles off of Virginia's coast for the first time in over two decades. Obama also announced a renewed interest in finding other drilling sites along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, in an attempt to temporarily allow a "broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy."
Obama cancelled proposals to drill in Alaska's Bristol Bay and also limited drilling near Florida's coast to no more than 125 miles from the shoreline. Obama claims to have found "a balance" between "the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America's natural resources."
Obama's drilling plans have even supporters in opposition. Representative Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts insists that oil companies need to leave "pristine" areas alone and said "Oil companies hold the offshore drilling rights to an area the size of Pennsylvania on which they aren't actually drilling," Even Obama's top energy supporters, the League of Conservation Voters found the President's plan "very disappointing." Others, like Jim Boehler, found Obama's plan "too restrictive," Boehler, the House Minority Leader and Republican from Ohio, insisted in a statement: "The Obama Administration continues to defy the will of the American people who strongly supported the bipartisan decision of Congress in 2008 to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling, Not just off the East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, but off the Pacific Coast and Alaskan shores as well."
The ultimate issue at the core of the drilling issue was best stated by Obama himself. He said "We [the U.S.] have less than 2 percent of the world's oil reserves. We consume more than 20 percent of the world's oil. And what that means is that drilling alone can't come close to meeting our long-term energy needs."
The president did gain unexpected support from Senator John McCain, Republican from Arizona, who called Obama's drilling proposal a "good move" and Twittered "Drill baby drill."