United States politicians, especially Republicans, promote offshore drilling as a way to lower energy prices and boost our economy, such as Newt Gingrich’s heavily-promoted “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” campaign. It’s no surprise there are supporters; gasoline prices have been rising steadily for years and many Americans are hurting in their pocketbooks. The problem is that we ARE going to run out of oil eventually, and in the meantime our continued oil dependence contributes to global warming and harms natural ecosystems.
It’s sad, but global warming and environmental issues have become largely partisan, with the left/Democrats supporting them and the right/Republicans calling them unnecessary and even harmful. Gingrich has even proposed abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency, which (among other things) keeps cancer-causing chemicals out of our drinking water! To people who trust what Republicans have to say more than Democrats, offshore drilling seems like the perfect, no-brainer way to save the economy.
Of course, bitter partisanism is something of a tradition in the United States, but in my opinion it’s completely uncalled for here. When environmental issues are backed up by strong science, politicians should respond by thinking of ways to protect their citizens, not continue with their petty partisan squabbling.
People who do not have political agendas favor offshore drilling because it is the only area in the US where significant quantities of oil can be found. As long as the US IS dependent on oil, and as long as people want it to be from US sources, that’s the only choice. The reality is, with all the possible, most optimistic domestic sources, at current consumption rates every possible oil discovery in the US will, at the very best, only maintain the status quo – it is impossible for US oil to make the US “oil independent” as long as we burn 19.6 million barrels every day. The oil is simply not here. (And as an aside, all the conceivable alternatives, plus all the conceivable domestic oil, cannot come close to supplying the liquid fuel needs of the US.)
Others, also without political agendas, favor offshore drilling because, as long as the US is dependent on oil, there’s considerable money to be made. Of course therefore it is favored by those who can make that money (by which I mostly mean the thousands of stockholders in oil companies).
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