Déjà vu: Debate over offshore drilling

Cross-posted from the NC Conservation Network blog

Why do I have this weird feeling I've been here before…

It's no surprise that President Bush's proclamation "Our nation must produce more oil, and we must start now" has sparked a heated debate between and among party leaders across the state of North Carolina and the country itself.

While offshore drilling has been a long-debated issue, the recent surge in gas prices has, shall I say, fueled the federal government to reconsider the ban on offshore drilling.

Here's the rub, though. Offshore drilling would have many cumbersome side effects, with limited positive outcomes. Firstly, you have the oil companies making more and more money, instead of investing money in renewable and sustainable energy sources. You also have severe environmental impacts on an already vulnerable coast, and although some offshore-drilling supporters envision using profit-sharing from the drilling to renourish beaches, what about all of the other environmental impacts at risk? From the Charlotte Observer:

"Fueled by $4-a-gallon gas, the growing clamor for new energy sources still faces opponents who envision oil spills, blighted ocean views and shorelines industrialized by pipelines and refineries."

I was also surprised to hear this little tidbit from Grist:

"…oil companies already have millions of acres allocated to them upon which they have not gotten around to exploring let alone drilling. When asked the delicate question, as some have been recently, why they have not explored these millions of acres to which the federal government has granted them rights, oil companies typically respond that the public should understand that oil exploration takes time."

Let's face it folks: offshore drilling would do nothing to help us in the next 7 to 10 years. We'll still be sitting here at square one–in dire straights, using the crutch of the mere potential success of offshore drilling to subsidize our energy-hungry lifestyles, which, if it came to fruition, would only provide us with borrowed time anyway.