Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Offshore oil: drilling into denial

By Vivek Krishnamurthy

President Bush, John McCain, and the Congressional Republicans must be high on gas fumes if they think that lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling will do anything to reduce gas prices, let alone improve America’s national security. Leaving aside the fact that it will take seven to ten years to see any new offshore oil come to market, the Energy Information Administration estimates that America’s total offshore oil reserves amount to 16 billion barrels. To put this in context, Americans burn through 20.7 million barrels of oil per day, meaning that the coastal reserves would satisfy the country’s thirst for oil for just 16 months. Indeed, the country’s total proven oil reserves of 75 billion barrels would last us a shade over six years – though at the cost of turning our coastlines and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge into industrial wastelands.

Increasing domestic oil production is not a real solution to high gas prices or to America’s energy insecurity. The real problem is America’s addiction to oil, and the first step in breaking it is to throw the GOP petro-junkies who set our energy policy out of D.C. on November 4.


Update (8:05 pm): For more on Bush's Rose Garden speech today, see TNR's Josh Patashnik: "Ultimately, a more notable proposal in Bush's speech is the one to allow oil shale leasing on federal lands in the Green River basin in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming."

A terrible, terrible, terrible idea -- both for the natural environment and in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions.


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