Don't Believe the Offshore Drilling Hype

Last month I blogged about Congress letting the federal moratorium on drilling the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) expire.  This came in the face of political pressure triggered by high gas prices over the summer.

The economic troubles have sparked a precipitous drop in consumption over the past several weeks, resulting in lower prices at the pump.  But our coasts remain vulnerable to a renewed push by the oil industry and its allies in Congress.  So it's worth a reminder that "Drill, Baby, Drill" is a catchy slogan, but not a solution to our energy woes.

Take this recent article in Peak Oil Review, for example, which explains that all of America's good offshore oil prospects already have been tapped.  The entire article is a must-read, but the closing paragraph does an excellent job stating the case:

"The bottom line is that the OCS is not a panacea for today's higher oil prices. The best prospects in US waters-including most of the Gulf of Mexico and a thousand miles of Alaskan shoreline--are already open for leasing. As for the moratoria areas, it's been decades since the East and West coasts were explored. There's probably some oil there, somewhere, but it is a decade or more from market. In short, hope is one thing, hype another, and both must be seasoned with a strong dose of reality."

Robert Kaufmann, director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies at Boston University said it best:  "This whole 'Drill, baby, drill' mantra alludes to a future that's not possible.  We are not ever going to be self-sufficient in oil."

Offshore drilling is a distraction and a needless risk.  We need to break our oil addiction and that requires resisting the urge for another fix.  Since more oil drilling off our fragile coasts will not secure our nation's energy independence,  the only sensible and serious solution is to move America beyond oil.  Fortunately, there are better solutions to provide efficient, clean energy for our future.