Should Offshore Oil Drilling Be Expanded?

After the BP oil spill, should new areas be opened to offshore energy exploration?

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In March President Obama proposed opening new areas to offshore energy exploration. But he slowed that process after the BP oil spill. Advocates argue that it’s necessary and safe but critics say it would mean more disasters. Is new offshore drilling the answer?
Edited by Robert Schlesinger


Mary Landrieu
Democratic senator from Louisiana, member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Congress should stay focused on America’s energy challenges. Even as we pursue renewable forms of energy, the United States consumes more than 20 million barrels of oil daily. Yet we produce less than half of that domestically. And more than 20 percent of our electricity is generated by natural gas, which is also important for chemical and fertilizer production. Natural gas can address several environmental concerns, including...



Bill Nelson
Democratic senator from Florida, member of the Senate Commerce Committee

Most presidents since the 1980s have supported or even strengthened a national moratorium on offshore oil drilling. They have rightly concluded that it makes no sense to jeopardize our nation’s coastal economies and fragile environments by expanding drilling. After all, the United States has only 3 percent of the world’s oil supply. It simply wouldn’t solve the problem of our reliance on foreign oil, especially when America consumes...


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