Rubio Reconsiders His ‘Drill Here, Drill Now’ Talk: ‘I Think It Makes Us Rethink’ Drilling Technologies
Following BP’s oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Crist (I-FL) reconsidered his previous support for oil drilling, stating that drilling is “the opposite of safe.” Crist announced this week that he will run as an independent and is expected to make his opposition to drilling a centerpiece of his campaign.
The oil rig disaster has caused problems for the Republican candidate Marco Rubio, a drilling proponent. In 2008, Rubio told Newt Gingrich’s big oil front group American Solutions for Winning the Future that he was proud to join the “drill here, drill now, pay less effort.” (Rubio also promoted drilling In a spanish-language endorsement.)
Now, Rubio is waffling on drilling. On the one hand, he said recently, “We should be very concerned with what led to this disaster, and until that question is answered I don’t think we can move forward on anything else.” But at another campaign stop, Rubio “didn’t give a definitive answer to questions from reporters” on the topic.
This morning, Rubio again continued to struggle to explain his position on drilling. He told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that it’s a “moot point” as to whether we should stop any plans for drilling expansion. And on CNN, he said we should “rethink” our understanding of drilling technologies:
CROWLEY: And you have been for more offshore drilling. Does this make you rethink that?
RUBIO: I think it makes us rethink the technologies of offshore drilling.
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President Obama has said no new offshore oil drilling leases will be issued unless rigs have new safeguards to prevent a repeat of the explosion that unleashed the massive spill. But, Obama maintains his support for eventually increasing offshore drilling, a position that Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and a host of Democratic Senators are asking the administration to reassess.
Hume Acknowledges Oil Spill Disaster ‘Verifies’ The Concern Of Environmentalists
Today’s Sunday morning news shows were dedicated, in large part, to the unfolding oil spill disaster in the Gulf Coast, as efforts continue to contain the 210,000 gallons of oil a day that are still leaking. The leak has reignited debate over offshore oil drilling, with the Obama administration saying that “further commitments for offshore drilling must await an investigation of the causes of the rig explosion and leak.” Even conservative darling and drilling proponent Marco Rubio said that the spill should make us “rethink” our drilling technologies.
Today, on Fox News Sunday, Fox’s Brit Hume said that, while his pro-drilling stance has not been changed by the disaster, the spill validates the concern of environmentalists who warned that such a disaster was inevitable:
Think about what the environmentalists have always said about this. Is it’s not a matter of if there’ll be a disaster of this kind resulting in this kind of offshore drilling, it’s only a matter of when. This verifies that argument, and becomes a powerful factor in the debate over what to do next. I don’t see any way around the political reality that this will set back the cause of offshore drilling in the United States.
The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, though, showed no hesitation about continuing offshore drilling efforts, saying “I’m a drill, baby, drill person.” He made the case that we should actually undertake more drilling closer to the shore, because it’s “less dangerous, less treacherous than trying to drill fifty miles out from the coast.”
Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, who is now in charge of the federal response to the disaster, said yesterday that “it’s logical to assume” that the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida will be hit by the oil spill. As The Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson pointed out, if estimates about the flow of oil are accurate, this spill will be “on the scale of the largest oil spills in history.”