President Obama and his administration have gone from condemning Bush-era offshore drilling policies to embracing them to blaming them for the mess in the Gulf, a Wall Street Journal look at Obama's energy policy finds. The tough talk about environmental protection heard on the campaign trail gave way to support for offshore drilling as the administration sought to win support for an energy bill—and to keep revenue coming in.
The administration, despite warnings about the dangers of offshore drilling, urged a federal appeals court to rethink a decision last year that threatened to halt offshore projects in the Gulf—including the BP well. In March of this year, just weeks ahead of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a new offshore policy that aimed to find a middle ground. "We'll employ new technologies that reduce the impact of oil exploration," Obama said. "And we'll be guided not by political ideology, but by scientific evidence."