WHAT IT IS
Offshore drilling is a mechanical process to explore and extract fossil fuels below the seabed. [WBUR]
40 million acres are currently available for development along the outer continental shelf (OCS) of the U.S. [How Stuff Works]
The Trump administration has proposed opening about 90% of the U.S. coast to offshore drilling. [NBC News]
CURRENT U.S. OFFSHORE DRILLING SITES
Gulf of Mexico
Currently 175 sites. The Gulf of Mexico produces about 25% of the nation's oil and 14% of the nation's natural gas.
Includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
DRILL BABY DRILL
Made in the USA
The Independent Petroleum Association of America believes that adding additional offshore drilling sites would increase America's independence from buying foreign oil. This can be viewed as an issue of national security. [US News]
National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) stated offshore drilling provides "freedom and opportunity to ensure that we have a supply regardless of what happens around the rest of the world."
The American Petroleum Institute says the plan could generate $70 billion a year to the economy, and 840,000 new jobs. [The Los Angeles Times]
"There are dozens of ways we've improved safety over the last five years" -Geoff Morell, BP.
For example, "car-size robots" now carry tools that can seal a well within 45 seconds. Additional measures include additional worker training, 24/7 onshore monitoring, and various levels of backup equipment. [NatGeo]
SAVE OUR WATERS
The drilling poses a massive risk to the ocean ecosystem. Not only does the drill disrupt the ocean floor, the potential for an oil spill is high. The 2010 BP spill has caused pollution in: [The Washington Post]
- 90% of pelican eggs contain petroleum more than 1,000 miles away from the spill.
- Dolphins in Louisiana have 8% higher mortality rates; reproduction has dropped 63%.
Fishing and tourism
Coastal businesses on the east and west coast are aligning to fight the proposal. [Protecting the Atlantic Coast]
After the BP spill, the fishing industry lost $247 million; the tourism industry on the Gulf lost $22.7 billion. [NatGeo]
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that if all the U.S. oceans were open for drilling, the price of gas would only decrease by 3 cents per gallon. [US Oceana]
WHERE WE ARE NOW
Two separate bills are proposed in Congress that are designed to ease environmental restrictions on oil exploration. [NBC News]
According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the changes will save companies at least $288 million over 10 years.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
The world currently produces 82.5 million barrels of oil each day. The proposed expansion would add only 0.2 million barrels. [EIA]
Click to interact with a map of grassroots opposition to the drilling plan.
Is this a fight between oil and gas jobs vs. fishing and tourism jobs?