The Truth regarding Offshore Oil Drilling

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With the gas prices at an average of over $4 per gallon and the emerging possibility, and in some cases, reality of $5 a gallon gas, there has been an increase in demand in regards to more options in oil resources to level the gas and oil prices. President Bush recently proposed the idea of off-shore oil drilling. However, he is not getting the backing of Congressional Democrats, whose support is critical to the plan. 

The first reaction given by the public is why not? Why not have offshore oil drilling? Out of our own domestic national resources? The immediate benefit would be that it would create employment at a time when unemployment is going up and will help reduce the gas and oil prices. It would tap in to the nation's own resources which will boost the economy.

But the truth is that there are environmental concerns in regards to the offshore oil drilling project.  According to an analysis by the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) in May of 2008, it could end up taking ten years before the results are reflected in oil prices within the United States.  This does not gurantee the fact that the oil supply will last a long time.

Is this effective long term planning by President Bush to sustain gas prices in the future? Or is it a political motive to help win the public's approval ratings for the President? President Bush has accused the Democrats for not being on his side in regards to this issue and has blamed them for the increased gas prices.  Yet, there are solutions to alternative energy resources that he should focus on.

The reality is that offshore oil drilling does not benefit the public in the short term.  Although it may create employment, the jobs we gain in the short term may only be temporary.  The offshore oil drilling facility proposals go through bureaucracy, infrastructure development and potentially threaten the natural environment. Some of the oil drilling sites, as the one mentioned by EIA is the Alaskan Natural Wildlife Refuge.

When you are receiving oil being drilled from the Alaskan Natural Wildlife Refuge, when there are options for alternative energy with lesser environmental risks, you would want to go for the lesser environmental risks. We do not want to take a risk of another oil spill that would devastate the environment and kill the animals. Plus, offshore oil drilling may also increase the threats of global warming at a time when global warming is something we are working to contain. Offshore oil drilling hits directly at the heart of our national environment. There are indirect damages from the pollution of our industries and there are direct damages that directly threaten the environment. Offshore oil drilling may lead to potentially more risks of oil leaks and the security of the offshore oil drilling facilities is not guaranteed.

This is the truth behind offshore oil drilling and hence the reason why Democrats have opposed this measure. We want to protect our environment, specially the environment that the earth breathes through. We want to take steps that decrease global warming. Offshore oil drilling does not adequately address the protections, or the measures to be taken to protect the environment.

Offshore oil drilling is like a mirage. It is being used as a political tactic to achieve short term results. Who primarily benefits from this? The companies that already lead the oil productions. Having a background in the oil industry, it does not surprise some that President Bush and Vice President Cheney would be for the oil drilling venture. It is great for the oil corporations and it will definitely increase their profits.

But profit should not come at the expense of Americans at large who can not afford $5.00 a gallon gas. We must remind President Bush that most people live pay check to pay check and they are looking for immediate savings. Americans deserve better and they do not have to risk harming the environment in quest of saving money. What they do want is economic stability in their own families.  There needs to be more focus from the President on alternative energy. It is true that alternative energy will take time, but the environmental impact is of greater benefit to the public.  It is for our future that we look after, and our decisions today will shape our environment tomorrow.   

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