President Bush lifted an executive ban on offshore oil drilling today, although new oil exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf will remain off limits until Congress also takes action. However taking action now may actually help the environment.
It is widely known that the California Coast has more oil than the entire state of Texas. So much so, that it is actually oozing out of the ground both on shore and under the ocean floor. One of the most intensively studied seepage area lies off of Coal Oil Point, in Santa Barbara County. Seeps in this area release an estimated 11 to 160 barrels (450 to 6,700 gallons) of oil per day, along with a large volume of natural gas. At Mobil's (formerly ARCO's) innovative Coal Oil Point sea floor containment project (a large concrete structure placed over a large seep on the seafloor), over 1 million cubic feet of natural gas is collected each day.
In fact 63% of all oil released into the pacific ocean comes from natural seepage. Only 1 percent of the oil discharges in North American waters is related to the extraction of petroleum. While older two-stroke engines utilized in a significant number of recreational marine vessels have high operational discharges due to inherent design inefficiencies, and are responsible for about 2 percent of the petroleum hydrocarbons introduced into North American waters each year.
Therefore, by drilling for oil in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) we will be reducing the pressure in oil deposits and reducing the amount of oil seeping into our oceans. Especialy now that scientific advances make drilling safer, and more efficient than ever. I am sure every environmentalist would love to reduce the amount of petroleum in our oceans.
THE ECONOMIC IMPACT
In 1970 the US only imported 24% of its oil from overseas. Today it is over 70%. That is over $700 Billion being sent to foreign nations. 4 times the cost of the Iraqi war every year.
It is ironic to note that those who oppose a so-called "War for Oil" are also opposed to doing anything to eliminate our need for it. While drilling alone won't solve the problem, a 10% increase in our drilling will drop gas prices by more than a dollar a gallon. If you combine this with the new safe nuclear technologies, clean coal, natural gas, wind and solar, our country can become energy independent again. This will reduce any needs to wage any more so-called "Wars for Oil." We can't wait any longer, ALL of theses options must be implemented immediately. Some will be faster than others, buat ALL are needed, including more oil drilling, both onshore and off.