Yes, there is an environmental disaster taking place in the Gulf of Mexico with the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and spill. No, that should not mean the end of any future offshore drilling.
Four New Jersey Democrats have already written President Obama, asking him to reverse his earlier decision to open up a variety of East Coast, eastern Gulf of Mexico and some Alaska waters for drilling as well exploration of future oil and natural gas. And Florida Sen. Bill Nelson says he will introduce legislation to stop expanded drilling.
The White House is acting correctly. All rigs and platforms currently in use are being inspected. No additional drilling will take place until the current investigation is complete. Washington is taking this seriously, just as it did the determination to expand domestic oil production as part of an important national security strategy.
Accidents, with often tragic consequences, unfortunately happen — in this industry and nearly all others. (I’m not going to succumb to comparisons; I’ll take it for granted that you understand what I mean). That does not mean we climb into a shell and refuse to utilize the resources and technologies that provide, in this case, vital energy supplies. We find out what went wrong, why it happened, make improvements and do everything possible to prevent future problems.