The states still have to weigh in here, but the Congressional moratorium on offshore drilling is expiring before our eyes (to be more precise, on the 30th of this month):
The end of the ban will not lead to a rush of new drilling any time soon, but it would be a big win for Republican Presidential nominee John McCain who has made opening most U.S. offshore areas to drilling a key part of his campaign. His Democratic rival, Barack Obama, supports limited offshore drilling as part of a bigger overhaul of U.S. energy policy.
We're not as sure as Reuters' Tom Doggett is of the political benefit to McCain, mostly because all eyes are off this issue and Congress has understandably moved energy policy from a boil to a simmer, if that. In fact, if gas prices spike in the next couple of weeks, as seems possible, a (rather unfair) talking point emerges for Obama. Of course, both campaigns have been regular ad machines, so there's that, and it could come up in the debate this Friday.
Derrick, courtesy of Reuters.