Virginia Drills for Oil

Buried in the Wall Street Journal’s article on Virginia Governor-Elect Bob McDonnell is the following:

Mr. McDonnell also scored politically with his proposal to allow oil drilling in the state’s coastal waters. His proposal builds on a policy set in motion a year ago when a federal ban on drilling off the Atlantic Coast was allowed to expire.

“We are set to be the first state in the country in 2011 to drill [for oil] offshore, off the Atlantic Coast,” he says, downplaying the environmental lobby’s intense efforts to reimpose the ban. “Unfortunately, the administration is dragging its feet. So I am going to do everything I can to push federal regulators to keep us on track.”

This is a good move, especially for Virginia.

There are three reasons why environmentalists work to block offshore oil drilling, and three answers:

Objection Response
Expanding domestic energy production will lower the cost of fossil fuels, thus perpetuate their use and increase global warming. Leaving the whole issue of global warming aside, we import so much oil now (and fund our enemies in the process) that we would be better off taxing imports, encouraging domestic production in the short term and setting a really science and technology based program to develop new energy sources (rather than the luddite “back to the Stone Age” thinking that dominates the 60’s radicals in our government.)
Offshore oil platforms leak oil. What they leak is crude oil, which is a natural product and more easily handled by the environment than, say, distilled products such as gasoline and diesel fuel.  They have always been equipped with blowout preventers and other devices to prevent the oil (the source of revenue for the operator) from escaping.  Moreover offshore oil deposits have been leaking for a long time without drilling, perceptibly in progressive, upscale places such as Norway and Southern California.
The onshore infrastructure for offshore oil development is polluting. We’ve come a long way from the practices that fouled the bayou in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  We had to put up with a lot of griping and complaining from the old oil field hands, but offshore oil development is a highly regulated business with many environmental controls.  One thing that was initially missing from the oil fields in the Gulf was an existing infrastructure of shipyards, ports and industrial support, and Virginia is blessed with all of this in the Tidewater’s port system.

More on this subject is here.

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