I have three questions:
- Does the environment win?
- Who really wins?
- How much is this initiative really going to cost taxpayers in the long run?
Congress gave final approval this morning to legislation to open 8.3 million acres of federal waters west of the Florida coast to oil and gas drilling, a victory for business interests who lobbied for the bill and four Gulf Coast states that would receive billions in new oil and gas royalties.
But even drilling supporters admitted it was just a tiny fraction of the publicly owned area they had hoped to open during 12 years of Republican rule of Congress. Efforts to drill in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts were defeated and are likely to be mothballed in the new Democratic Congress.
...Opponents said the measure would be a boondoggle for the Gulf Coast states, robbing as much as $170 billion over the next 60 years from the federal treasury, which could have paid for education, health care or cutting down the national debt.
"It's a great deal for these four states, and I can certainly understand why they would support it. But what I can't understand is why my colleagues from the other 46 states would agree to it," said Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara. "This country has record deficits as far as the eye can see, and it's simply irresponsible to add billions more in new debt."