Tories say drill, baby, drill

The Conservative Party are keen to open up offshore drilling. They want to open up an area of Ocean important for its whale and dolphin populations.

The Tories want to encourage offshore drilling

“Drill, baby, drill“ was the rallying cry of Sarah Palin and the American hard right, but even as oil seeps from the Deepwater disaster towards the Louisiana coastline, it is David Cameron’s Conservative Party here in Britain who seemed to have joined the chorus.

Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman wrote today:

“President Obama needs to seize the moment; he needs to take on the ‘Drill, baby, drill‘ crowd, telling America that courting irreversible environmental disaster for the sake of a few barrels of oil, an amount that will hardly affect our dependence on imports, is a terrible bargain.”

In a new energy policy paper, the Conservatives offer proposals that would give tax breaks to multinational oil companies, and ‘streamlining’ of licensing arrangements, to encourage more offshore oil drilling – and they want to do it in some of Britain’s most sensitive seas.

The new Conservative policy seems to be a reaction to the recommendations of former Tory energy Minister, Tim Eggar. Despite sitting on the board of a number of oil companies, Eggar was hired by George Osborne, just a couple of months ago, to lead a review of the tax arrangements for offshore oil drilling in UK waters. He is understood to have canvassed the big oil companies asking what they would need to make new oil drilling economic.

In the energy policy paper, the Conservatives say they’d like to open up an area of Ocean off the Shetland Islands that is important for its whale and dolphin populations. The area off the coast of Shetland also contains a couple of ‘special areas of conservation’ such as Darwin Mounds, designated for its cold water corals, and Wyville Thompson Ridge, proposed for its stony reef species and bottle nose dolphins. It’s not clear if these special sites would be under threat from the plan.

The Conservative policy says “We need policies designed for hunting [oil]” and goes on to outline:

“We need polices that offer the right incentives to explore for and extract the remaining reserves of oil and gas, and to keep existing fields open as long as possible.”

The paper continues:

“We will streamline government… We will offer exploration companies a simpler, clearer and more transparent licensing process.”

It is hard to see how they could ‘streamline and simplify’ licensing arrangements in such an area, without weakening environmental protection yet further. As the former head of Obama’s transition team, John Podesta of the Centre for American Progress has written in response to BP’s mess:

“The only effective strategy is strong regulatory oversight to prevent disasters in the near term. And getting off oil in the longer term.”

The Wall Street Journal today highlights how ‘acoustic triggers’ (remote controlled shut off mechanisms that can cut off oil wells in an emergency) were rejected by US regulators following lobbying by BP and other oil companies – and how already UK rules for drilling are so weak that these safeguard devices are not required. Yet the indications are that the Conservatives want to weaken the regulations even further.

In response to the Conservatives’ plans, Ruth Davis of Greenpeace told The Guardian:

“Whilst all the parties might have been sniffing around the issue, only the Tories have made a pledge to provide tax breaks and simplify licenses.”

Labour and the Liberal Democrats, while both also enthusiastic for drilling, have just said they will keep offshore drilling arrangements under review.

33 Responses to “Tories say drill, baby, drill”

  1. Cal Russell-Thompson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories say drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  2. Josh Dorner

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories say drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  3. Faiz

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories say drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  4. Torr Leonard

    @ewanjanderson btw, this site is like Think Progress for the UK: Tories say drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  5. Jenni Jackson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories say drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  6. Joshua G B Hardy

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories say drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  7. baby advice

    Tories say drill, baby, drill | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/9QVEr7

  8. Rupert Read

    Yes. Agreed. My reading of this paper is that it is dreadful in almost every way. One could write a paper on every chapter of it. On CCS, on nuclear, on planning, on its fundamental assumptions, on agrofuels – the Tories are dangerous like the Republicans here, and Cameron’s greenwash won’t wash any more.

  9. The Wonk Room

    RT @fshakir RT @leftfootfwd: Tories say drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  10. Susan Rector

    RT @wonkroom: RT @fshakir RT @leftfootfwd: Tories say drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  11. EmperorBevis

    David Cameron says, where there is money, Oil be there, lol.

    Labour now run by money minded middle classes that fell out with the upper echelons of British society because they could by their Bentley’s but never join their Ranks.

    Having two Jags must be a real drain on oil resources.

    Who will defend the environment and source out replacements for fossil fuels instead of sources of them.

    It is me, sorry it isn’t me. who is it?

  12. Austin Green Life

    http://bit.ly/rwecX Tories say drill, baby, drill | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/cTGP0f

  13. U.K. conservatives say drill, baby, drill | Get Healthy Advice

    […] I’ve noted many times that the British Tories, unlike their American counterparts, understand climate science and support strong action to reduce emissions (see “U.S. conservatives vs. U.K. conservatives“).  But it turns out they share one thing in common with U.S. conservatives, as Joss Garman of the UK blog Left Foot Forward explains in this repost. […]

  14. Alex Hardman

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories say drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  15. Anon E Mouse

    Joss Garman – It won’t be long now…

  16. SSP Campsie

    RT @leftfootfwd As Obama considers halting offshore oil exploration, Tories say drill, baby, drill http://short.to/2e6ja

  17. MyDavidCameron

    RT @leftfootfwd As Obama considers halting offshore oil exploration, Tories say drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  18. James Lloyd

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories say drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  19. guynewey

    RT @leftfootfwd: As Obama considers halting offshore oil exploration, Tories say drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  20. Tanners1977

    Gulf Coast faces disaster thanks to BP, yet Tories want oil co. tax breaks and less regulations on offshore drilling: http://bit.ly/aWCZ48

  21. BP oil spill — a chance to win the debate on energy? « Efficiency Freak

    […] has attacked the Tory’s policy on increasing North Sea oil drilling, in a great post at LeftFootForward. In the energy policy paper, the Conservatives say they’d like to open up an area of Ocean off […]

  22. James Lloyd

    http://tinyurl.com/2wg55h3 How do you think this will effect UK policy on drilling? @James_BG seen @jossgarman http://j.mp/b3f8R2

  23. Alien baby in Mexico stumps experts is it just an elaborate hoax

    […] Tories say drill, baby, drill | Left Foot Forward […]

  24. Vote 2010: An election reflection | Left Foot Forward

    […] the party’s climate scepticism and it is little wonder when they are planning to open up offshore drilling. There is a similar story on constitutional reform. Labour and Lib Dems are both committed to […]

  25. Oil drilling – banned in US and Norway, encouraged here | Joss Garman

    […] This time Britain’s most sensitive seas near the Shetland Islands, home to whale and dolphin populations, are under threat. […]

  26. Joss Garman

    EU chief calls for ban on oil drilling http://bit.ly/dlGwBl UK gov't says 'drill, baby, drill' http://bit.ly/b3f8R2 @Ed_Miliband

  27. Johann Hari: David Cameron Brings ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ to Britain | JK Technologies |

    […] and the government’s subsequent energy policy paper (to read it, you can follow the link from here) says life needs to be made “simpler [and] clearer” for oil companies to drill in […]

  28. Richard Hall

    Cameron is promising Big Oil tax breaks to drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/bmi8yV

  29. Jamie Potter

    RT @HallyMk1: Cameron is promising Big Oil tax breaks to drill, baby, drill http://bit.ly/bmi8yV

  30. Tax breaks for Big Oil as coalition breaks with US & EU to back deep sea drilling | Left Foot Forward

    […] known to have been the basis of Conservative policy announced in their pre-election policy paper, Rebuilding Security, which – as Left Foot Forward reported at the time – proposed new policies for “hunting” […]

  31. Tax breaks for Big Oil as coalition breaks with US & EU to back deep sea drilling | Joss Garman

    […] known to have been the basis of Conservative policy announced in their pre-election policy paper, Rebuilding Security, which – as Left Foot Forward reported at the time – proposed new policies for “hunting” […]

  32. High Court green-lights legal challenge to coalition oil drilling plan | Left Foot Forward

    […] yesterday green-lighted a far-reaching legal challenge that will have significant implications for ministers’ plans for new deep sea oil drilling off Scotland’s […]

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