The energy platform espoused by Democrats meeting at the national convention this week in Denver has little, if anything, to offer the oil and natural gas industry.

While Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois signaled earlier this month that he would be open to allowing drilling off certain coastal states as part of a larger compromise on energy policy (see Daily GPI, Aug. 5), there was no mention of his position in the Democrats’ 54-page platform.

Proponents of greater offshore drilling decided against offering an amendment to the Democratic platform, saying that Democrats attending the convention viewed the issue as too controversial. However, the matter is expected to be front and center when Congress returns from its recess in September.

Drilling, whether it be offshore or onshore, was viewed as something of a dirty word in the Democrats’ energy plank. “We know we can’t drill our way to energy independence” was their mantra.

On the plus side for producers, however, the platform did not incorporate Obama’s proposal to enact a windfall profits tax on major producers. The money would be reinvested to reduce the burden of rising energy prices.

Speaking to the convention Tuesday Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), who campaigned against Obama, indicated she supported his views on windfall profits. “We need a president who understands that we can’t solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies, while ignoring opportunities to invest in new technologies that will build a green economy.”

Obama will “transform our energy agenda by creating millions of green jobs and building a new, clean energy future,” Clinton said.

Rather than focus on drilling, the Democrats pledged to carry out “fast-track investment of billions of dollars over the next 10 years to establish a green energy sector.” The massive investment would be financed by revenues generated from a cap-and-trade program to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, according to the platform.

Democrats also cited energy speculation as a key issue. “We will direct the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to vigorously invest and prosecute market manipulation in oil futures.”

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