McCain's Drilling Plan Won't Deliver, Says Menendez

McCain's Drilling Plan Won't Deliver, Says Menendez

Plan would fail to bring immediate relief, threaten the Jersey Shore

Washington - In Houston today, Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, delivered a speech in which he outlines an energy policy that includes opening up areas off the East and West coasts of the U.S. to drilling.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee who has led the defeat of numerous proposals to open up the Outer Continental Shelf to drilling, released the following statement:

"It gives you a good sense of where Senator McCain is coming from when he decides to give a speech on energy and the environment in the oil capital of the United States. We have lived through eight years of Big Oil writing our energy policy, and we do not need four more years of it. The future is in a green economy, alternative fuels and energy efficiency, not in oil."

On opening up the coastlines to drilling:

"When John McCain or George Bush talk about opening up our coastlines to drilling, they make it sound like gasoline is going to run straight out of the ground and right into your car. What they either don't want to tell the public or simply choose to ignore is that it will take at least a decade to see any production out of those areas, and even then it will just be a drop in the bucket. Why give the oil companies another handout when they are sitting on 68 million acres leased from the American people that they have yet to explore?

"Senator McCain implied today the United States has all the oil it needs right in its own back yard, which is complete nonsense. He talked of 'proven oil reserves of at least 21 billion barrels.' The United States uses over 7 billion barrels per year. This means he is touting a less than 3 year supply of oil as his long term solution to our oil crisis.

"For the state of New Jersey, the McCain-Bush drilling plan is even more questionable. We could see oil derricks sprout up less than 100 miles from our beaches - close enough for an oil spill to severely damage the environment and economy of the Jersey Shore.

On McCain's energy rhetoric:

"I find it hard to believe that Senator McCain would say the federal government discourages offshore oil production when more than 80 percent of the oil that is off our shores is already open for production and oil companies own more than 30 million acres of leases in federal waters that they have not used. I find it hard to believe Senator McCain calls himself a supporter of renewable energy when last year he was the missing vote that could have broken a Republican filibuster to extend critical tax credits for wind and solar power. I find it hard to believe Senator McCain can say he is a strong supporter of clamping down on oil speculation when just last week the party he leads was the reason a bill to finally address speculation was blocked in the Senate. For eight years we've had a president who couldn't live up to his rhetoric on energy and the environment, and we can't afford four more years."