Did President Obama have justification for deciding this month to backtrack on the expanded offshore oil and gas drilling policy he had originally announced in March, before the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill?
Key lawmakers from the president's own party, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, are disappointed about the administration's announcement. Bingaman predicted last week it would be "extensively discussed" in the 112th Congress. House Republicans are also pushing for Congress to open for drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, along with other areas that are limited right now, including portions of the Arctic Ocean off Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
What are the repercussions of the administration's reversal? Should Congress lift the moratorium that's currently in place in the eastern gulf? Will the administration budge on issues like ANWR due to pressure from House Republicans and other conservative voices, like Sarah Palin and former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham? Will the gulf oil spill have any lasting effect, or will a GOP-controlled House and a more conservative Senate see past that?