Offshore development: A positive step but more must be done
Q: After a week in which the Obama Administration announced several major decisions -- opening new areas to offshore drilling, spelling out the details of tougher fuel-efficiency standards, and clamping down on "mountaintop" coal mining -- do you think the White House is on the right track on environmental matters?
As President Obama acknowledged last week, the United States needs an energy strategy that addresses the nation's present and future energy demands, national security, economic growth and job creation, as well as environmental protection. His plan to expand offshore oil and natural gas development is a positive development but more must be done.
Exploring for and developing the nation's offshore resources could help generate more than a trillion dollars in revenues and create thousands of jobs to add to the already 9.2 million jobs supported by today's oil and natural gas industry. The industry has a proven track record of safe energy resource development and the majority of Americans recognize this by supporting greater offshore development for the benefit of their communities, their states and their nation.
A Rasmussen poll conducted after the president's remarks found that 72 percent of registered voters support offshore drilling, and 59 percent believe drilling should be permitted off the California and New England coastlines, two areas that are still off-limits. We hope that consideration can be given to opening these areas as well as the Destin Dome in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and portions of offshore Alaska, and that the permitting processes are handled expeditiously.
We also are concerned that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Car Rule is setting the nation on the disastrous course of Clean Air Act regulations of stationary source greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). The rule is less about vehicle efficiency than creating an opportunity for regulating GHGs from virtually every firm and business in America. The result could be a paralyzing slowdown in business expansion and job creation at a time when millions of Americans are still struggling to find work.
The Clean Air Act was intended to control traditional pollutants, not GHGs that come from every vehicle, home, factory and farm in the United States.
Jack N. Gerard
April 7, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
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