President Barack Obama's support for limited offshore oil exploration isn't in the same league as Sarah Palin's "Drill, baby, drill" battle cry of recent months.
But Obama's call to end moratoria on drilling off parts of the Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the northern Alaska coast prompted immediate complaints.
Environmental groups lamented the real possibility of more oil spills. Petroleum executives complained Obama hadn't gone far enough — as if that would be possible unless he opened the entire country to exploration.
Obama's plan deserves at least some praise because it has a practical side. The nation does need to search for what Obama called "traditional sources of fuel" to reduce reliance on imported crude.
However, the proposal also raises legitimate concerns, starting with potential ecological threats. Congress must be clear that, if it moves forward on this initiative, federal oversight will be focused and punishment for environmental violations will be swift and meaningful.
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