Should Offshore Oil Drilling Be Expanded?

Readers share their thoughts.

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Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu argued that offshore drilling is key for our energy future; Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson said the Gulf oil spill shows it’s too dangerous. Your feedback:

Should we continue to drill? No. The amount of oil and gas extracted won’t really impact our need for foreign oil. Is it worth the continuing potential disaster we are now experiencing? Drilling is only a band-aid for the disease: our extravagant misuse of natural resources. Until Americans grow up and get over their “me first, whatever for the rest” attitude, this problem will never go away.

MARILYN MUELLER Alpharetta, Ga.

The moratorium is unnecessary. I work for Big Oil. I’ve been in drilling for almost 30 years. I’ve lived on and worked in the Gulf of Mexico. I am angry with BP for making several questionable operational decisions that led to this tragic event. I am equally angry about BP’s PR effort after the tragedy. They continue to deny the basic cause of this event: a bad decision to use a poor well design. Operators not using BP’s design or procedures should not be shut down. The deepwater drilling moratorium is much pain for little gain. BP’s bad risk management need not be followed by a government display of the same.

JEFFERY TOKARSKY Parker, Colo.

Yes [we should drill offshore], unless we’re closing down the U.S. economy. Of course we should, and are, switching over time to more efficient energy use. But we have a 25-year window when we need to use oil and coal.

J.R. GORDON Pensacola, Fla.

There should be a complete halt to drilling new offshore wells until it can be shown that blowout preventers work properly, and that spilled oil can be cleaned up.

GEORGE SCOTT Schenectady, N.Y.

Instead of more handouts to prop up a 20th-century industry built on outsourcing its risk and pollutants to the environment and people who rely on it, we should be moving forward to 21st-century technologies that are clean and create steady jobs. We can’t make any significant dent in our dependence on foreign oil without ending our dependence on oil itself. Estimated increases from expanding even the riskiest sources would net domestic output increases of less than 5 percent. This isn’t a national energy plan. It’s a handout to corporations.

JEREMY SHIPLEY Iowa City, Iowa

No company wants a bad public outlook on them, along with profit loss, and the guilt of destroying the environment. They are people too, believe it or not.

JAMES SARTAIN Murfreesboro, Tenn.

It is very clear that we are controlled by the need for carbon fuels at this time. No matter what other alternative arrangements develop, it will take time. I’m an environmentalist, but also a realist, and any further considerations have to be done cautiously. Deepwater drilling has obvious problems, so enhanced regulations and oversight are needed.

CLAYTON BERLING Carmel, Calif.

  • Check out a roundup of editorial cartoons on the Gulf oil spill.
  • See who gets the most from the oil industry.
  • See photos of the Gulf oil spill disaster.