Drill Baby Drill: Will Offshore Drilling Help?

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President Barack Obama has announced plans to partially lift the ban on offshore drilling, but not everyone is happy with the decision -- including some Democrats.

As senator, Obama was a staunch opponent of most offshore drilling, but Wednesday's announcement shows he's coming around some.

"We're announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration, but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America's natural resources," he said.

The Obama administration will allow drilling off Virginia and exploration from Delaware to Florida. However, much of Alaska and all the of west coast are still off limits.

Will lifting the offshore drilling ban help?  How soon would Americans have to wait before seeing an impact on the economy?  CBN News spoke with Laura Henderson of the Institute for Energy Research about this.  Click play for her comments.

Posing before a fighter jet, Obama presented the move as a national security issue.

"For decades we've talked about the risk to our security created by dependence on foreign oil," he said. "But that dependence is actually growing year after year."

Still, there's criticism of the decision from both the left and right.

"Keeping the Pacific Coast and Alaska as well as the most promising resources off the Gulf of Mexico under lock and key makes no sense at a time when gasoline prices are rising and Americans are asking 'Where are the jobs?'" House Minority Leader John Boehner said.

Democrats complained about the damage oil spills could do to the fishing and tourism industries.

But Obama said America can't sit still on the issue.

"This issue is just too important to allow our progress to languish while we fight the same old battles over and over again," he said.

So why the budge by Obama on offshore drilling?

Some say he wants to give Republicans a little so they'll give back a lot, like their support for a climate control bill.

In his announcement, Obama also said, "I know that we can come together to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation that's going to foster new industries, foster millions of new jobs, protect our planet and help us become more energy independent."

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.