* Opens additional drilling areas in the Gulf of Mexico, and allows Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to elect to permit drilling off their coasts. Existing bans on drilling off the West Coast, including in the ANWR, would be preserved.
* Dedicates $20 billion to R&D on alternative fuels for motor vehicles.
* Extends a series of tax credits and incentives, such as for the purchase of hybrid vehicles.
* Funds the above -- at total cost of about $84 billion -- by closing tax loopholes for petroleum companies, in conjunction with licensing fees.
This is a compromise I would definitely be willing to consider. Although I am strongly opposed to offshore drilling because of its limited short-term impact and failure to address the larger issue of dependence on fossil fuels, the tax incentives, investment in alternative fuels, and closure of tax loopholes for oil companies are well worth the trade off. As Nate notes, McCain opposes the bill because of those tax loopholes. By supporting the legislation, Obama can show he is willing to tackle the energy crisis in a bipartisan fashion that ensures investment in future technologies, all the while showing how McCain is beholden to Big Oil. Sounds like a winning strategy to me.
Be sure to read the entire post, as it breaks down precisely why this would be a huge, perhaps election-sealing, gain for Obama, and catastrophic loss for McCain.
Benen adds his thoughts.