The AP reports that California Governor Arnold Schwarznegger has pulled his support for offshore drilling based on the news coming out of the Gulf of Mexico.
Speaking during a news conference Monday, Schwarzenegger said television images of the oil spill in the Gulf have changed his mind about the safety of ocean-based oil platforms.
The Republican governor had proposed expanding oil drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara to help close the state's $20 billion budget deficit, so withdrawing his support essentially kills the idea since he would have to include it in his May budget revision.
Only if more politicians like Schwarznegger did the right thing. It's good that the governor changed his mind about the merits of offshore drilling, and he should be commended for it.
In other news, the White House has said it's premature to change its position on offshore drilling, citing the need for the review by Department Interior Secretary Salazar to be completed first:
The Obama administration said on Monday that it remains "premature" to rule out including additional offshore drilling as part of comprehensive energy legislation, even as Senate Democrats warn that such a provision would make the bill "dead on arrival."
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that the president will determine whether to stay with or abandon his call for additional drilling off various parts of the coast once he gets the findings of an investigation into the massive oil spill in the Gulf.
Asked if the president's thinking on the matter had evolved as the news of oil spilling in the Gulf has grown worse, Gibbs said that the administration's priority remains "to plug the leak in the floor of the ocean, deal with the spread of the oil on the surface, to ensure that we are doing all that is possible to prevent environmental and economic damages."
"The investigation [by Salazar] is to determine what happened and to use that information going forward to dictate any changes in our policy," he added.
Hopefully once the findings of the investigation are in, the President will change his mind on the merits of offshore drilling. However, if the President does not change his mind on offshore drilling, we need to have an open conversation in the progressive community on how to proceed from here.
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