A Washington Examiner poll of presidential candidates published on May 26, questioned candidates from coastal states most likely to be affected by offshore drilling. All were asked the same questions: Whether they supported Arctic drilling, opening all of the Atlantic outer continental shelf or just part of it, allowing drilling off the Pacific Coast, ending the moratorium in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, or banning offshore drilling altogether.
Republican Jeb Bush, who has alternately opposed and supported offshore drilling — as long as it is not too close to his house in Florida — was bold and to the point. “Expanding domestic energy production is key to ensuring America’s energy security, and with input from state leaders, we now have a chance to create a national energy plan to reform the leasing system to expand drilling in areas where it is safe.”
Democrat Hilary Clinton declined to participate in the survey but sided with Republicans and oil-patch Democrats by voting for the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act in 2006. The act opened some eight million acres of the Gulf for oil and gas development.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas introduced a bill last year to give states the right to determine whether they would allow drilling off their coasts, although the bill did not include some areas of the North Atlantic and the North Aleutian Basin off Alaska.
Independent candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is against all offshore oil and gas development.
For the most part, it appears that the current slate of presidential candidates are in favor of offshore drilling as part of a larger, loosely defined U.S. energy plan. That should be reassuring for the offshore service vessel industry.