Obama willing to compromise on offshore drilling

August 2nd, 2008 - 2:19 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Barack Obama
Washington, Aug 2 (DPA) US presidential candidate Barack Obama has voiced willingness to compromise on offshore US oil drilling as part of “comprehensive” energy legislation. In what was quickly seen as a significant reversal, Obama told Florida’s Palm Beach Post newspaper in an interview Friday that he was open to offshore drilling if it would break a logjam on energy legislation in Congress.

“My interest is in making sure we’ve got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices,” Obama said.

“If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well-thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage - I don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t get something done.”

Amid recent record oil prices, Congress, which is controlled by the centre-left opposition Democrats, has been unable to pass major energy legislation to promote alternative energy sources and would include other measures to ease energy prices.

Obama, an Illinois senator and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has staunchly opposed offshore drilling as environmentally risky.

Arizona Senator John McCain, Obama’s centre-right Republican Party presidential opponent in the November elections, changed his position earlier this year to support offshore drilling as a way to increase US energy production and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Obama had ridiculed McCain’s stance, saying that new drilling would take more than a decade to bring oil to market and could never offset current US oil imports.

The McCain campaign issued a statement late Friday after news of Obama’s latest comments: “It’s clear that members of both parties are following John McCain’s leadership toward an ‘all of the above’ approach on energy that includes nuclear, alternative energy, and offshore drilling. We hope Barack Obama will realise that his ongoing opposition to John McCain’s realistic energy solutions and additional off shore drilling is wrong.”

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