Ignoring the facts that opening up offshore areas to oil drilling will do nothing in the near term and little over the long term to solve high gas prices, and that the oil industry does not even have the equipment to extract the oil, the Bush administration pushes forward in its attempts to let the oil industry profit hugely:
Story on Guernica's blog.
In his book The Court and the Cross, Frederick Lane points out how long after a President is out of office his impact can possibly be felt by the lifetime tenures of the Supreme Court Justices he has appointed (three decades is becoming less and less an anomaly). Here we have another attempt by President Bush to make his presence felt in this country long after he is gone.
The House is pursuing legislation that would make oil companies dig for oil on acres of land where they already have leases. The opposing argument is that those leases don't come with treasure maps with X marking the spot where they can dig. It takes time and research to find and extract the oil. What this means is those companies aren't even producing crude oil to help the current gas crisis. Therefore, more leases will do nothing for the short term, because, as the companies have pointed out, it takes time, research, and resources to act on those leases.
So, what we have here is an attempt by this administration to continue to let big oil companies profit long after the presidential election this November has come and gone. If given more leases these companies will be allowed to continue to figure out where the oil is on their current leases (or not), as the new ones wait in the wings to go through the same process in the future. All the while making huge profits.
And then when the time comes (if the time comes) to switch to alternative energy, the same companies profiting now will be the ones to profit in the future.
But let's worry about the profits to be made off of oil before we think about the profits to be made elsewhere.