The new strategy — the result of more than a year of work by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar — also confronts an essential political reality: the Senate will insist on offshore drilling as part of a broader bill, expected after Easter, addressing climate change and other energy-related problems. Mr. Obama is trying to anticipate and shape that discussion by identifying areas that he thinks can responsibly be opened for exploration while quarantining others.
We need oil right now, but we can't just keep drilling. And we need to cut our energy dependence. As far as I can see, the Alaskan wilderness areas that are so controversial are not on the table. Instead most of the leases will be in places already being explored or drilled.
That makes sense to me--hiding these things in remote wilderness where we can't see them but where the effects on nature and wildlife could be significant is a bad idea. We need this oil, why not drill for it where we are? Why hide it and pretend it doesn't exist? Lets mar the landscapes we've already marred with our presence and leave the pristine as it is.
At the very least this is another shrewd move from a president who finally has his feet under him, whose efforts are finally starting to merge and pay off. It's good to see.