Our View: Should we drill for new oil?The Star-Observer’s online poll is not scientific, but we believe it generally reflects what people are thinking. What they are thinking in the latest poll is that it’s time to start drilling for oil in areas that have been off limits in the past.
By: Editorial staff, Hudson Star-Observer
The Star-Observer’s online poll is not scientific, but we believe it generally reflects what people are thinking. What they are thinking in the latest poll is that it’s time to start drilling for oil in areas that have been off limits in the past. In fact, 80-plus percent of respondents believe we should begin drilling for new oil in and around the United States.
The $4 per gallon gas has people nervous – and for good reason.
The one topic that continues to rise to the top is increasing our country’s domestic energy supply. Many feel it’s the only way to bring down the cost of gas.
So what are the arguments?
Environmentalists believe that renewable energy will be our silver bullet. Most environmentalists oppose drilling off shore because they fear a disaster that would spill oil into our oceans and on our beaches. They also oppose drilling in sensitive areas like Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for the same reasons – oil spills and permanent damage to a sensitive area.
Those who support drilling in sensitive areas usually point to new technology, claiming that the potential for a serious spill or accident is unlikely. Those who want more oil production argue that drilling should be allowed on Outer Continental Shelf, the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, tar sands and oil shale in the Western United States.
Here are a couple of interesting facts that may have played a part in the charging public opinion.
People in the United States are envious of Saudi Arabia’s 235 billion barrels of proven reserves, but when including oil shale, offshore and ANWR drilling, the United States sits on approximately 2 trillion barrels of proven reserves.
When it comes to producing energy (electricity for example), it always sounds good to support wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. It, however, is probably not going to help much in the foreseeable future. Combined, these four renewable energy sources produce only about 2 percent of all the electricity generated in the United States. Fossil fuels produce 71 percent of U.S. electricity, and nuclear power makes up an additional 20 percent.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist recently abandoned his opposition to drilling offshore for oil and natural gas. His announcement did not cause the big stir it probably would have a couple of years ago – apparently support for his thinking is growing.
In Florida, where minds were once closed to offshore drilling, ideas have been changed by the prospects of safer drilling technology and awareness that dependency on foreign oil has heavy costs.
Regardless of what happens in the near future, we should still pursue goals of renewable energy, drive vehicles with better gas mileage and conserve when possible. But clearly the mood of the country has shifted a bit – when gas hit $4 per gallon, many people started looking for answers to high fuel costs. Drilling in previously closed areas now looks like an acceptable alternative to many.