...Does not want to loose those Florida Eco-Conservatives:
McCain's View on Expanded Oil Drilling Uncertain
By Kaitlynn Riely
June 10, 2008
(CNSNews.com) - Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain is "open to the possibility" of tapping America's domestic oil and gas reserves, but it is not clear from his voting record whether he would actively push to expand offshore oil recovery efforts.
On ABC's "This Week -with George Stephanopoulos," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C), a McCain friend and supporter, said the Arizona Republican would be open to talking about looking for oil and gas "in our own backyard."
"John McCain would allow offshore explorations, if the states consent," Graham said Sunday.
Graham's statement echoed the position McCain took in response to a survey conducted by the League of Conservation Voters last year. The League questioned all the 2008 presidential candidates about whether they supported maintaining current moratoriums on new offshore oil and natural gas drilling.
Congress passed the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Moratorium in 1981, which prevented the leasing of coastal waters for the purpose of fossil fuel development.
McCain said he supported expansion of oil recovery in the OCS -- with qualifications.
"I believe there are some OCS areas that can and should be developed for their energy potential but the areas should not be those that are ecologically sensitive to such development," McCain said in the survey.
"I also believe that the will of the people of coastal states like Florida and California on issues related to OCS development off their shorelines must be respected and they should have a say in where moratoria are kept in place as well as the terms of such development that is permitted," he said.
McCain added that if oil retrieval is conducted in the Outer Continental Shelf, it should be done according to strict environmental standards and oversight.
The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service determined in February 2006 that approximately 85.9 billion barrels of "undiscovered technically recoverable" oil could be found on the Outer Continental Shelf.
At a town hall meeting in Michigan last month, McCain said he believed the United States should expand its domestic oil drilling operations, but said the states ought to have the right to make the decision whether to drill or not to drill, Reuters reported.
It is difficult to gauge McCain's past voting record on domestic drilling, mainly because in many instances he did not vote.
In March 2008, McCain did not vote, either for or against, on an amendment to increase spending levels on energy-related programs, including the development of oil and natural gas resources in coastal areas not covered by presidential or congressional moratoria. On the same day, McCain did not vote regarding an amendment to increase spending levels on programs to develop natural gas off the coast of Virginia and to develop oil shale resources on public lands.