New Interest in Offshore Drilling
Offshore oil offers the best chance for America to lessen its dependence on foreign petroleum and to ease the energy crisis. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, nearly 200 billion barrels of recoverable oil may be trapped in formations under the continental shelf and slope1—more than twice as much as has been produced in the United States since the first successful oil well was drilled in 1859.2While this oil promises to relieve the developing shortage of fossil fuels, it also raises profound fears among environmentalists. Mere mention of the words “offshore drilling” recalls the rupture of an oil well in the Santa Barbara channel in 1969. The well spewed thousands of barrels of oil into the Pacific, blackening nearby California ...