Top Dems in Congress open to possible compromise deal on offshore drilling
Some key Democrats in Congress have said they’re willing to work out a compromise deal to open some offshore areas in U.S. waters to oil and gas drilling. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he’s “open to drilling and responsible production.” He also said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid might also support limited offshore expansion. Though opening offshore areas to production wouldn’t actually lower oil or gasoline prices until about 2030 (and even then only slightly), Congress folk are under heavy pressure from constituents to do something (or even just look like they’re doing something) to lower energy prices. “It’s very clear that people [in Congress] heard during their break at home this is the dominant issue,” said Sen. Kent Conrad (N.D.), another Democrat willing to compromise on offshore drilling. While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said she opposes new efforts to drill offshore, she too is under pressure to address rising energy prices and has called for releasing some of the oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to that end.