The Gulf Oil Spill and the Future of Offshore Energy

We need the energy, but is the risk to the environment too great?

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As the engineers for BP try to drop a cement cap on the gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, will they also be sealing the future of offshore oil and gas drilling? The disaster struck just as a fragile political consensus to seek more offshore energy was forming. We won’t know for a while how bad the damage will be. Catastrophe is still a possibility, but likely overstated. What might not be overstated is how much oil is in the deep Gulf. That’s one big well­—one of many promising deep-water finds—and no one disputes we need the energy. But is the risk to the environment too great? Has the political consensus collapsed for good? Is there a way to revive it? And is there a way to drill safely in deep water? Give me your thoughts on the future of offshore energy at editor@usnews.com.

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