Disaster? Yes; Stop Drilling? No

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.

Energy, According to Gingrich

High gasoline prices have generated the greatest public anger since California’s Proposition 13 in 1978. So says Newt Gingrich (as offered in his May 30 speech to the Council of State Governments in Lexington, Kentucky). Many likely disagree with that statement, but Gingrich backs up his claim that "Washington does not have a clue" what to do.

He points out that:

  • The U.S. has three times the Saudi oil reserves in the Rocky Mountains
  • Kentucky has 27% of the world’s coal
  • Brazil is utiliziing two oil fields in the Atlantic, allowing it to be independent of the Middle East
  • The U.S. can’t explore anywhere — the Atlantic, Pacific or Gulf of Mexico
  • "What did we do? We passed a bill in Congress to sue OPEC"

Gingrich’s focus on November 6 at the Indiana Chamber’s 19th Annual Awards Dinner will undoubtedly be on Washington’s new leaders and solutions that hopefully are better than those currently offered.