Thursday, September 18, 2008

Drill pickle

More a matter of politics than government, the Congress is voting on a measure to relax the off-shore drilling ban in place since 1982. Under the measure before lawmakers (as of this morning), drilling would become legal at a distance of 50 miles from shore with the consent of adjacent states, or at 100 miles without such permission. The bill has already passed the House. I'm curious to see how the reader feels.
Is relaxing the drilling ban a good idea? Would lifting it altogether be better? Is the rate at which oil will be extracted too low to bother? Does the value of the oil outweigh the potential damage to fisheries and tourism? Do most people understand the issue? Should people in a landlocked state like Arizona be making this decision for people in a coastal state like Delaware?

Image source: Minerals Management Service


Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

Lift the ban. The coastal waters belong to all of us -- not just coastal states. As to fishing -- often excellent off of drilling platforms. Care should be used to avoid most sensitive areas such as reefs.

Chris Crawford said...

I like the bill that the House passed. Remember, the event that triggered all this was the Santa Barbara oil spill some 40 years ago. The oil industry has learned a lot since then and there have been no serious mistakes. I think that we can be confident that these platforms will not create environmental problems.

I am not yet ready to support a wide-open, anything-goes drilling policy because I'd like to see how well they handle the new arrangement. Besides, it takes a long time to develop offshore sites, so they'll have their hands full dealing with what we open up with this bill.

I have no illusions, however, that this bill will have much of an effect on our overall oil supply. It will not save our butts. But I don't think it can hurt, so why not?