Grand Haven, Michigan (Ucs News) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain poured scorn on his Democratic rival Barack Obama on Thursday for failing to match his commitment to drilling in the Great Lakes for oil and natural gas. McCain told the voters of Grand Haven that drilling rigs off the coast Michigan were going to be a "top priority" of his administration.
Speaking at a town hall meeting, he returned repeatedly to a theme that has moved to centre stage this week in an increasingly bitter contest between the two candidates. The issue could be critical to the November 4 election to succeed President George W. Bush.
McCain says he wants an "all-of-the-above" approach to solving U.S. energy problems, which have seen gas prices rise to more than $4 (2 pounds) a gallon before falling back.
McCain advocates a range of measures including building more nuclear power plants by 2030, developing clean coal as well as wind and solar power and wants Congress to rescind a ban on oil drilling in the Great Lakes.
Energy is particularly important to Michigan because the traditional battleground state where Republicans and Democrats are evenly matched is one of the nation's largest producers of automobiles.
"Obama says he wants energy independence but he's opposed to new drilling in the Great Lakes. He's opposed to nuclear power in Michigan's . He said the high cost of gasoline doesn't bother him it only rose too quickly. Tell that to the people who are driving the oldest automobiles," McCain said to applause.