July 30th, 2008
12:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama calls offshore drilling a 'scheme'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/30/art.obamaoff.gi.jpg caption="Obama opposes offshore drilling."](CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama stood his ground Wednesday in opposing what he calls the "scheme" of offshore drilling, during a campaign event in Springfield, Missouri.

"The oil companies are shoving this thing down the throats of Congress, because they know everybody wants to try to pretend they're doing something about the energy crisis,” Obama said. “This is not real. I know it's tempting. The polls say its one of the ways that a majority of Americans think we're going to solve this problem, but it's not real."

"I understand how desperate folks are. If I thought that I could provide you some immediate relief on gas by drilling off the shores of California and New Jersey... I'd do it.”

But the Democratic presidential candidate added, "The soonest you would see any drop of oil from drilling off our shores would be 10 years from now....The most you would end up saving 10 years or 20 years from now would be a few cents on the gallon, although at that point, I figure oil might be $12 a gallon."

Citing the oil companies' record profits, Obama charged that they are, "making money hand-over fist, they're making out like bandits."

For more on the the latest political news, tune into Campbell Brown: Election Center tonight at 8 pm ET.

Obama then proposed his own answers: "First of all, let's make the oil companies drill where they're already got leases, let's increase supply by making them do what they're supposed to do."

Obama also said he wants to make sure speculators aren't manipulating the oil markets.

To a standing ovation, he said, "And let's get serious about alternative energy sources like solar and wind and bio-diesel. Let's raise fuel efficiency standards on cars. Let's get plug-in hybrids all across America. Let's finally free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil. That's the direction we need to go."

soundoff (603 Responses)
  1. Oilman for Obama

    He's right. It will take our industry well over a decade to produce only a negligible amount of oil. Everyone in the industry knows this, but the CEO's want to push this initiative for a meager profit. Oil is a dying industry ... even people in the business know the real future is in renewables .. they are just trying to squeeze out every last drop.

    July 30, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Pro-active, Problem Solver

    The Bush, McCain had 8 years to address this. They just want to drill now. You know why? Political pandering. They really don't care for Americans, they just want to say the democrats opposed it.
    Don't worry. With the friendship Obama established with the middle east, if he wants, the Saudis will personally bring oil in their luxury jet to America. What are friends for. Noone in middle east wants to help Bush or Mc Cain. Two oil men in the WH couldn't do anything.
    It is too late for them to drill anywhere anyway. They can drill their heads, still nothing good ideas will come from them. Let someone fresh in the WH to take a fresh approaches to these issues .

    July 30, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Mike I am sorry some obamamanic is trying to high jack my name but that is okay. He or she is probably more white trash obama supporters.

    Mike you couldn't be further from the truth in your thinking. I think we should conserve but also drill. We need more sources of oil and not just from the Arabs.

    Wake up Mike and put your thinking cap on.

    July 30, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Randy

    Shilpi.....it isn't an interpretation.....it is what the result is if we do not act now to become self sufficient.

    But thanks for your insight....it was very enlightening.

    July 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Master of the Obvious

    Let's see, Bush bathes in oil, Bush gets elected with the dollar bills from big oil. Bush has been pushing for more oil resources since he's been in office. Oil fluctuations are inconceivably as volitile as they've been in history. Now Bush wants more oil to bathe in. Can't anyone see the scheme here? I scratch your back you scratch mine. Big Oil wants Alaska, big oil wants the continental shelf. Big Oil and Bush decides to get the American people in such a crunch that they will beg for more oil in Alaska and the continental shelf. So Bush pays back his campain financiers by opening up more land to drill. I wonder why now that the curtain's falling on Bush's stupidity servitude that he's pushing so hard for more oil? Hmmmmm.......

    July 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. Enlightened Voter

    Then why does Nancy Pelosi want to release 700MM barrells from the strategic reserves to help offset the price? How do you think it got into the startegic reserve in the first place? BHO isn't concerned with the price anyway, he thinks it SHOULD be high to force conservation. He was concerned with how fast it rose, not the overall price. The dems were kicking around another tax increase in the congress anyway. Supply and demand people, supply and demand. Conservation and responsible use is a huge fcator as well and developing alternate and renewable sources. But, we're not there yet.

    July 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Marc PDX

    Barack's energy plan is to provide tax credits and rebates. How is that supposed to address the root cause of the problem? That's only treating a symptom, and not treating it very effectively at that. We have to plan further out than just November. If we won't realize the benefits of taking control of our own energy future for another 5 or 10 years then so be it. That's a helluva lot better than not taking care of it at all – as we've been doing since this began to emerge as an issue in the '70s! During the Carter administration. This is back to the future but somebody is going to have to act like an adult and start planning for the future or we won't have one!

    NObama N'08 (fantasies don't work!)

    July 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. McLAME

    Stop!!!! Don't listen!!!!



    July 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. Tony

    Lie, cheat, DENY, kill, spread fear.....a REPUBLICAN!

    July 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. bernj

    Obama is right. Offshore drilling is a just another Bush/Cheney/McCain scam to benefit big oil companies.

    Now.....if I can just get somebody to buy my SUV............

    July 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. Paul

    I work in the Alternative Fuel/Energy industry!

    1. Unknown to most people in the world, is that we have the technology NOW to survive completely without dependence on foreign oil!

    2. If our government spent just 45% of what they are currently spending on foreing oil, on Alternative Energy..America would be completely green within 2-3 years!

    July 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. Matt: honestly

    So many do not see that the environmental consiquences of this far outweigh the the pluses. J you are right we are talking about billions of dollars. Spread out over billions of people. The damage it would do would be far more expensive. Obama is right.

    July 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. Pat Riot

    How is giving a state it's rights to determine what to do with its own natural resources a scheme? If you ask me banning the drilling in the first place was a scheme to drive up the price. They wanted to see how far they could go in the name of environmental saftey. Now the liberals are taking about a national tax to contribute to the prevention of global warming. Tax, ban, tax, ban and around and around the liberals go until you wake up one day and the bleeding-heart cause you've been fighting for has left everyone else around you just a little less free.

    July 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. justin, georgia

    The American People have proven Obama's positions correct on almost every decision. When the American people were tempted by the Republicans that going into Iraq would make us safer, we bought it and then later we realize after the dust settled that it was nothing more then a political game a shift to get oil which would pay for the war cost. Now that we are in another election year we have high gas prices and somehow the american people are being dupped again by the political people who be (republicans) that drilling off shore will help. You know what, American people need to see that being reactionary at our most desperate times will not solve any problems.

    July 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. Generation X

    Now, only if John McCain could tell us his plans.....He is to busy attacking Obama with lies. Watch out McCain, all this attacks are going to back fire. Asked Hillary!!! LOL

    July 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Of course it is a smoke screen. It is not in the best interests of the oil companies to drill off-shore. Their best interest are to collect as many claims to acres of lands where they are allowed to drill. Sit back while the competition runs out of oil, then have their own reserves to sell. Once they run out of reserves, they are out of business.

    Funny how they have millions of acres already claimed are not drilling, testing, nor exploring. Working off-shore is riskier than working on land, and more expensive too boot.

    Is it coincidence that the GOP got a million dollar donation from the oil industry when they announced the initiative to drill off shore?

    July 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. Peggy - TX

    RE: Comments by “Nancy in San Jose” Weather or not Mike drives a truck is irrelevant and reflects the arrogant California and New York democratic view points that sour many in the fly-b/w states and in the state of TX that could so easily go Dem this year, if the more moderate Texans can become aligned with the loud, naïve, liberal extremist that continue to keep the Dems out of power. If Obama is willing to talk with the head of Iran, then maybe he can talk to people knowledgeable in the oil business as well.

    July 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. aware

    Give it up Obama!

    You are dead wrong Dr. No, and 76% of the American people disagree with you.

    Don't let China suck up oil off our shores while we sit on our hands! It is all about supply and demand, and the demand is growing big time!

    We need to get with the program and utilize many sources of energy – including oil, natural gas, coal, ethanol, wind, nuclear...!

    Bill Clinton blew it during his tenure! Stop the dumb Democratic political pallaver.

    I am a former Democrat who will not vote for the arrogant Obama who speaks like a Greek Sophist but does not engage in reality!

    July 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. Marc PDX

    Find the gorgeous rock star and bring him to the DEBATE!!!

    You can't hide forever – even if the media is ok with it, a lot of the American people see through the emporer's new clothes.

    July 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. Dean Guttadauro

    In 10 years:

    We could get 200,000 barrels of oil a day from ANWAR.

    In perspective, China's demand for oil alone will increase by about 5,000,000 barrels of oil a day in the same 10 years.

    Also, the military is using oil at a rate of 395,000 barrels a day right now, a larger than normal amount primarily because of the war in Iraq.

    We (the US) currently consume oil at a rate of 20,687,000 barrels per day. About half goes to transportation, so the increase in fuel efficiency standards will have a far, far greater effect than more drilling. Currently we average a meager 20MPG over-all. If we increase that to 25MPG, we would reduce our oil consumption by 20%, which would be the same effect of 20 ANWARS. Also, the 200,000 number for ANWAR is a peak amount. Oil will not last forever, and all oil fields eventually decline. ANWAR is not only a temporarly band-aid, it is not a particularly good one.

    A continued reliance on oil benefits only countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are also the two largest sources of money for Islamic militants. The font line in the war on terror was never Iraq, it has always been the gas station. John McCain will do nothing to solve that problem, but rather continue the policies that brought us the problem in the first place.

    July 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Mike from Westchester

    McCain is not pushing drilling because it's the right thing. He's pushing it because the polls tell his campaign it's a good wedge issue.

    Obama, on the other hand, is looking at the real pros and cons of energy policy and making an informed decision. I might not completely agree with his plan, but at least it is formed based on logic and not on his campaign's ability to criticize his opponent. If you haven't noticed, that's all McCain's got anymore.

    This is a lot like the gas tax holiday pushed by McCain and others. It was a political ploy all the time. You want to know how I know? Because neither McCain nor the other former candidate EVER introduced it in the Senate. If it was such a good idea, why would they just use it as a campaign slogan and never try to get it done?

    Offshore and ANWR drilling would be Bush's final gift to the oil companies (who's families are into oil big time?) before he leaves office.

    Good energy policy would have us off foreign oil in ASAP years and exporting most of what we produce in 20 years of so. A major comprehensive plan to do so would reduce oil speculation and have a major impact on the price of oil very soon.

    If we get the price down now with supply, we will be right back in the same mess in 5 – 10 years. T. Boone Pickens has good ideas, too, even if he is the scumbag that financed the smear campaign that stuck us with this Administration for the last four years.

    July 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. New Voter for McCain

    Again, you are a liar, Barack. Do your home work. Or why don't you just get lost.

    July 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. Mike

    This is why obama should be President. he is honest even when it may cost votes. McSurge on the other hand just lies and panders and acts like he thinks the voters are idiots (and whiners).

    July 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. Former Hillary Supporter

    To the former Hillary Supporters, I too was devastated when Hillary lost. However, I am constantly reminded of how bad the republicans tactics and ideas really are. Daily I receive e-mails with fake stories or untruths about Obama. They are once again trying to do exactly what they did to Gore and later Kerry. They would have told the same lies about Hillary. The drilling is the latest example. Mcsame gets huges bribes from the oil companies to get them even higher profits at our expense. Democrats must unite to stop them. Our children's futures are in peril if we don't stop Mcsame.

    The analogy goes like this. The Democrats faced off in the primaries like two pumas to see who could later face the republicans. The republicans are the big ugly gorilla. The American people are the pumas' cubs. The Hillary puma barely lost in a close contest. Bruised but ready to fight, the Barock Puma must now face the Gorilla. If the Hillary Puma is to join the Gorilla in attacking the Barock Puma, if will be at the peril of her cubs. We'll plug our nose when we vote for Barock, but we must save our cubs!

    July 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. California Gold

    Obama is right: it is a scheme. Voters please don't think the oil companies have nothing available and need more. The oil companies already have millions of acres in oil leases and off shore drilling. Insist the oil companies use what they have. I'm not going to buy into an argument that they need more. Hullo: Oil Company's Want And Need More? No way. Use what you have and when you've drilled out every drop and can prove there is nothing more, then come hat in hand and request offshore drilling. It's a scheme and I'm not buying it. Obama has these guys pegged.

    July 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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