R.I.P. Offshore Oil Drilling Moratorium: What Could We Have Done Better?

offshore oil rig photo

photo: Mark Phillips

Considering that both Republicans and Democrats seem to favor, by and large, opening up US coastlines to offshore oil drilling (even if only part of compromising to deal with other energy issues) this whole thing may be a moot point; but today does mark the first day after the federal moratorium on offshore oil expired. At TreeHugger we’ve covered this issue so many times, and said in so many different ways that offshore oil drilling will have virtually no effect on gasoline prices now or, well, ever, that I don’t know if I can say it again. It appears that short-term appeals to economic populism have won the day from long-term environmental and economic good sense.

That said, Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope is more upbeat on the issue, so read on:
Offshore Drilling Battle Not Over
In a press statement circulated by email Pope said,

This is not the last we will see of the moratorium that has protected our coasts since 1981.

The drilling ban could very well be restored by a new Congress and president who understand that more offshore drilling will do nothing to lower gas prices or solve our energy crisis.

All the debate about drilling this year accomplished nothing other than serving as a distraction from real energy solutions.  Every time Congress tries to implement real clean energy solutions, the oil industry and its allies demand a ransom.

The lapse of the moratorium does temporarily leave the fate of our fragile coasts in the hands of the Minerals Management Service, a scandal-plagued agency that has demonstrated beyond a doubt that it is far too cozy with the oil industry.

While there are efforts underway to accelerate new coastal drilling, we are confident that we can beat back these measures. It's unlikely that any coastal state would risk its tourist economy by allowing drilling within three miles of its beaches. However, we will continue to watch vigilantly over the next few months to ensure that the Bush administration doesn't give away the store before they leave town.

Once the politically-charged election season is over we will be able to revisit this issue as part of a comprehensive energy bill that moves us away from dependence on oil and invests in clean energy solutions.

We're already suffering from years of putting our energy policy in the hands of the oil industry.

While Americans struggle to fill up their tanks, oil companies are raking in record profits. Instead of more offshore drilling, we need a comprehensive energy plan that will put Americans to work and infuse new life into our economy.

For The Fourth Time: The Offshore Oil Isn't Worth It Graph
In case anyone missed the graph of just how much additional oil offshore drilling will bring to the market, in over a decade from now I remind you, check out this chart, reprinted for the fourth time on TreeHugger.

offshore oil drilling won't make a dent in overall demand chart image

image: Architecture 2030
What Did We Not Communicate?
Perhaps we’ve been preaching too much to the choir on this one. Thoughts? How could this issue have been better presented by the green community? Leave aside the compromise bill that was recently introduced in Congress. How could this issue have been better conveyed to the average person battling high fuel bills?

Offshore Oil Drilling
Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel: McCain v. Obama on Offshore Oil Drilling & ANWR
Strange Bedfellows: Compromise Renewable Energy & Offshore Oil Drilling Legislation Passes in the House
I’m John McCain and I Approve of Offshore Oil Drilling
Quote of the Day: John McCain on Offshore Oil Drilling
Offshore Oil Drilling Will Still Not Lower Gasoline Prices: Barack Obama and Legislative Compromise

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