US House passes bill aimed at speeding up offshore drilling.

6 May 2011

Kalamazoo River Inlet, Ted Swoboda Photography, Saugatuck, MI

Yesterday the US House passed a bill designed to expedite offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia.  Passed by a 266-149 vote, with 33 Democrats voting to support it, the legislation overrides a decision last year from the Obama administration not to open the US Atlantic Coast to offshore drilling.  The bill’s prospects are much less certain in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and the Obama administration has indicated that it opposes the measure.

Gas prices are at a near record high, but is increasing domestic drilling anything more than a short-term fix?  I’m not sure.  The one thing I am sure of is that the US will never be able to control world oil supplies or gas prices through domestic drilling.  The focus instead should continue to be on reducing energy consumption and providing incentives for non-traditional energy sources.

On a related noted, it is barely over a year since the Deepwater Horizon accident, the worst environmental disaster in the nation’s history that killed 11 people and released over 200 million gallons of oil into the gulf.  Astonishingly, Congress hasn’t adopted any major laws on offshore drilling.  It seems that people have quickly forgotten about the devastation resulting from the accident in the gulf and the Enbridge spill here in Michigan (Have you heard about the oil spill – in Michigan?) (according to an article in yesterday’s Battle Creek Enquirer, cleanup has removed 766,000 gallons of oil from the Kalamazoo River, but more work is needed and the river remains closed to the public).



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