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Offshore Drilling Will Not Lower Gas Prices

Additional drilling off the coast of the United States will not substantially lower the world price for oil; and it is the world oil price that determines what we Americans pay for gasoline and heating oil. The United States Department of Energy last year predicted that it would take two decades for drilling in restricted areas to have a noticeable effect on domestic production, and that, even then, "because oil prices are determined on the international market," the impact on fuel costs would be "insignificant."

The Department of Energy estimates that there are eighteen billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in offshore areas of the continental United States that are now closed to drilling. This sounds like a lot, until you consider that oil is a globally traded commodity and that, at current rates of consumption, eighteen billion barrels would satisfy less than seven months of global demand.

A nation that uses one-quarter of the world’s oil while possessing less than 3 percent of its reserves cannot drill its way to happiness at the pump. As the oilman turned wind farmer T. Boone Pickens has observed, "This is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of."

Offshore Drilling Will Trash Our Beaches

"I am an avid surfer and big fan of your site. I am distressed about the recent popularity of offshore oil drilling. Coming from Texas, I have seen how catastrophic this can be to water and beach quality. Also, I am positive this will devastate Florida's economy which so delicately depends upon tourism. I am writing this to see if you could add a side note to your site asking voters to write their congressmen in support off an offshore oil drilling ban. Unless people in Florida want to swim and surf amongst tar balls, dead fish and sea weed they will agree with the 40% of Americans opposed to oil drilling.

Thank you,"

Jake Mills

Why Do We Care?

Without a clean beach and a healthy ocean, we would not be here, and, most likely, neither would you. Offshore drilling will tarnish the health and beauthy of our beaches and oceans. We have seen this repeatedly in areas where offshore drilling is already used. It would be naive to expect oil companies to take better care of our beaches and oceans then they are currently doing in areas where drilling is already permitted.

Oil consumption also fuels global warming, which, unchecked, will flood coastal regions of the United States. ExxonMobil and others in the oil industry have funded researchers who make headlines denying the existence of human-induced global warming (just as the tobacco industry once funded researchers to minimize the health impact of smoking cigarettes); but an overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that fossil fuel consumption causes global warming.

The oil industry is rich and powerful, and wields great influence over some politicians, research scientists, and members of the news media. Be skeptical of the sustainability and security of an oil-fueled economy, and the many false promises of offshore drilling.

Isn't it time we had a national energy policy that was not written by the oil industry?


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