Hello, California. In a largely symbolic action, President Bush today lifted the White House executive order banning offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. Click here for the New York Times story.
The president’s announcement comes a day after Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he could envision himself as an environmental czar in the administration of Democratic presidential Barack Obama. The story is here.
Schwarzenegger has endorsed Republican John McCain for president, but the Bush administration’s ardent support for offshore oil drilling and its opposition to efforts to curb climate change don’t make it easier to be a Republican in California.
If nothing else, the administration’s aggressive pursuit of offshore drilling makes it likely that Republicans have given up on the idea that McCain could compete for California’s electoral votes in November.
California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein responded to the president’s action with a statement that reflects the views of most Californians: “Even if new offshore drilling were allowed off the coast of California and along the outer continental shelf, which I wholly and resolutely oppose, it won’t produce oil in time to solve the gas price emergency American consumers are facing right now.”