NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- President Obama will present a bill Wednesday to open up wide swaths of the Atlantic Ocean for offshore drilling, defying the environmental lobby he courted in the election and bringing smiles to the faces of his right-wing opponents. Why is he doing this? If the resources over the 167 million acres of oceans, from Maryland down to Florida, would yield unlimited quantities of oil and natural gas, we might be convinced that the move was really about energy independence. But it won't. Studies have shown over and over that this traditional "hands-off" area for drilling, an area that even "drill, baby, drill" screamers in the Bush White House and the McCain campaign wouldn't touch, holds a relatively small reserve and will be inaccessible for at least another seven years. So what's going on here?
Obama's Oil Plan is Bush's Oil Plan
Some see this as a first salvo in a game to give a little to the oil interests in the U.S. before making a strong push for much more stringent climate control legislation, of trying to woo the recently defeated right on health care into the president's camp. But the right wing in Congress and the nation has shown little appetite to support this president, even if the proposals he makes are straight out of the Sarah Palin playbook, as this one is. My own take is that the president is beginning to get to a consolidated energy policy, one that will definitely expand green initiatives and alternative energy incentives but will also clearly look to isolate one new area of energy technology: Fracking in the Marcellus, Barnett and other shale areas. I believe this olive branch to drillers is also a response to the many energy advocates of expanded water injection technologies that are needed to fully mine Marcellus shale. He is telling me that he is unwilling to take on the growing environmental clamor of mining, carbon gas emissions and particularly water contamination that fracking entails. We can forget about government incentives for shale mining of natural gas from this administration.