The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Offshore Ban 'Imperiling Our Energy Future'

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted December 6, 2010

"The decision...made last week is inconsistent with the will of the American people." API President and CEO Jack Gerard.

This was one of the statements made by Jack Gerard today as he spoke with reporters today about the administration's decision to halt offshore drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific and the eastern Gulf of Mexico for the next seven years. Coincidentally, as he was speaking, Rasmussen Reports was releasing new polling results showing that 54 percent of U.S. voters believe the new drilling ban will increase gasoline prices and hurt the economy.

Jack.jpgThe Rasmussen poll isn't the only survey to show support for offshore oil and natural development. As API reported recently, 60 percent of American voters favor offshore drilling, a fact that led Jack to say today that the new drilling ban and the ongoing delay in issuing new drilling permits in the central and western Gulf are in conflict with the will of the public.

"We are moving in the wrong direction on energy," Jack said. "We do not have a sound strategy, and that must change."

At least two newspapers also are critical of the drilling ban:

  • A Washington Post editorial notes that offshore drilling will occur despite the administration's announcement, but it won't happen in U.S. waters. "America will require oil for years, and a lot of it will come from undersea wells--off Brazil, Nigeria and Azerbaijan if not the United States. Mr. Obama's about-face may make some Americans feel better, but it's unlikely to be a net plus for energy independence or the global environment."
  • Sid Salter of the Clarion-Ledger says the administration's drilling ban decision was a political maneuver designed to appease anti-drilling sentiments in blue states. He adds that "blue state voters on the two coasts get all the energy supply benefits of Gulf States drilling and none of the associated economic and environmental risks...all parts of the nation should share both the risks and the rewards...."

The rewards from developing the now-banned areas are huge. A study by ICF International two years ago projected that in 2030 full development of these areas could generate $1.4 trillion in revenue to government, more than 75,000 new jobs, and produce nearly one million barrels of additional oil per day. Last week's decision stands in the way of these benefits and the positive impact they could have on the economy and U.S. energy security.

The administration is "imperiling our energy future," Jack said.