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Groups at Conventions Ask: What's His Will to Drill?

August 26, 2008

Denver, CO - "What's his 'will to drill?'" It's a question more voters are asking about Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, because they believe it leads to resolution of some larger issues, including the price of gas and national security.

A number of groups at the Democratic National Convention in Denver say more drilling would neither result in lower gas prices nor less dependence on foreign oil. Pete Morton, an economist with The Wilderness Society says that hasn't stopped the candidates from talking it up on the campaign trail.

"It's a very simple soundbite that isn't necessarily based in fact, but it's a hopeful message and I think they're trying to get elected."

Morton, who held a public question-and-answer session on the topic, believes there should be greater focus on reducing fuel demand and on conservation measures. He says the data shows that more drilling at home hasn't meant cheaper prices at the pump.

"We've been in a drilling boom for the last eight years and we're setting records for the number of natural gas wells drilled. We drilled more oil wells last year than we have in twenty years - and prices are still high."

McCain has long supported increased drilling, including offshore; Obama was met with a backlash from many conservation groups that support him, when he made a partial shift in his position. He says some offshore drilling might be okay, as part of a plan that also includes more investment in renewable energy development.

Eric Mack/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - ID