Some Democrats Shifting on Drilling?

posted at 3:35 pm on February 28, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Is Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT-4) starting to get the message on domestic energy independence? According to one recent set of comments and a strong message from some of his constituents, he just may be.

Maurico Morales feels the pain whenever he puts gasoline in his car. Seeing prices nearing $4 a gallon, Morales wants the United States to look into any measures, including domestic drilling, that will make filling up less draining on his wallet. “If we have the resources to do it here, why buy it from other countries?” said Morales, who works in New Canaan and commutes daily from Bridgeport. “We’ve got to keep trying.”

Morales appears to have an ally – although a lukewarm one — in his congressman. Speaking to reporters from Main Street Connect on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes said that he would support domestic drilling for oil, but with reservations. “I’d rather see [the U.S.] drilling for [natural] gas than for oil and for coal,” he said.

Yes, that’s luke-warm support at best, but for a Democrat from Connecticut it’s a fairly startling comment. On the one hand we have various allies of the president saying that gasoline costing $4.00 or even more would be just the tough medicine we need to push America off of its “oil addiction.” It’s a fine sentiment, of course, providing you’re not one of the tens of millions of unemployed or under-employed who have to pony up the cash at the pumps.

But it’s precisely those people who show up at the polls – no matter how blue their home state – and begin to get itchy voting fingers when they have to choose between filling up the tank or getting groceries. And representatives like Himes may be starting to listen.

He’s going to have to summon up some serious intestinal fortitude and stand up to his own president to carry through on it, though. The latest word on the permitorium is that the Obama administration is standing pat.

Interior officials won’t offer timeline for issuing offshore drilling permits

Top Interior Department officials refused to get specific Friday about when permits for deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico will be issued.

“We are carefully and rigorously reviewing drilling plans. I am quite confident we will again get to the point where we approve deepwater permits,” Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich said Friday, according to Reuters.

I just know I recognize that official position about “timelines are bad” from somewhere, but darned if I can put my finger on it just now. But either way, don’t expect a break in the Gulf Coast Employment Blockade any time soon.


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