The International Association of Geophysical contractors republished the following article entitled “Debate Simmers Over Atlantic Oil, Gas Exploration”:
“Mount Pleasant, South Carolina – On this dock, where captains and first mates are freshening their boats with coats of white paint and rigging up new shrimp trawling gear to take to springtime Atlantic waters, the debate over drilling for oil in East Coast waters divides colleagues and, occasionally, families.
Much of Capt. Wayne Magwood’s pro-offshore drilling stance comes down to a pocketbook issue. Burning through 1,000 gallons of diesel a week in his boat Winds of Fortune is manageable with low diesel costs, but past high fuel prices have made the economics of shrimping nearly impossible.
‘I’m tired of paying $4 a gallon. I’d like to pay $2 a gallon’, the 64-year-old Magwood said. ‘We don’t want to be dependent on foreign oil. We can’t get it when we need it. I think it’s good for the local economy. Environmentalists are doing a good job of regulating it and they’ve done a good job in the Gulf.’
The good job he referred to is the cleanup following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one that sent nearly 5 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the same spill activists against offshore drilling cite as one of many reasons to keep oil and gas interests out of the Atlantic.
The Gulf spill is illustrative of the entire debate over Atlantic energy exploration. Advocates say the economic benefits will be significant, both regionally in the jobs created and nationally in the increased oil and natural gas reserves that could drive down energy prices. Opponents say economic projections are unreliable and the potential positive impact is not worth the risk of a possible oil spill in the pristine Atlantic waters.
The East Coast holds no offshore drilling rigs, and as former President Barack Obama was preparing to leave office, he removed the Atlantic from the next five-year offshore energy plan, and banned drilling across wide swaths of the Atlantic from the Canadian border to Virginia. He also rejected six permit applications to conduct seismic testing off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, effectively ending attempts to search for oil and gas in those areas.
But as President Donald Trump, friendly to the fossil fuel industry, assumed office, offshore drilling opponents began steeling themselves for a challenge. That challenge began to materialize earlier this month amid published reports that Trump was preparing an executive order that would undo the Obama administration’s actions restrict offshore exploration and drilling. As a candidate, Trump promised to expand exploration and drilling opportunities off the Atlantic coast….”