The development of energy resources (natural gas and oil) along the US continental shelf is currently blocked - most everybody knows that. Much of this area is very far offshore and, as I noted several days ago, the Cubans and Chinese are already out there drilling.
What most people don't know is that the ban has two components: The congressional ban and a Presidential Executive Order from 1990.
That's right, Bush called for congress to lift the offshore ban yesterday, while leaving his father's ban in place. In the history of laughable presidential politics, this ranks right up there with Nixon naming Elvis his drug czar.
The Wall Street Journal correctly pointed out that -
The Administration has botched a prime political opportunity. Lifting the Presidential ban would have been symbolic for now, because Congress's ban would still apply. But it would have put the spotlight on Congress as the last political obstacle to exploiting domestic reserves, just as public support for more drilling is rising.
Anticarbon Democrats are on the defensive for once. Their default position – doing nothing – doesn't have the best resonance amid $4 gas. They've been reduced to arguing that more exploration would merely make a difference over the long term. The GOP plan, in other words, is too pragmatic
Botching opportunities is nothing new for this Administration: Since 2005 the President has had "ZERO" domestic agenda items and has ceeded so much ground that almost anything a candidate says now sounds like a good idea.