Last March, President Obama said something smart: "Today we're announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration." The decision would have opened up drilling along the coast from Florida to Delaware.
But then the BP oil rig blew up, causing a new push to ban offshore oil drilling.
The White House declared such a ban – but a court threw it out as too broad. This doesn’t mean that drilling resumed. Obama’s regulators have imposed something that oil drillers call a "permitorium." Drilling is technically legal, but the government hasn't issued any permits. This week, they said they would -- but so far, they haven't.
And last month, the administration announced they will not allow any new drilling on the Atlantic coast for at least the next seven years.
My guest on this week’s show, Ezra Levant, the author of “Ethical Oil” – says the drilling bans actually harm the environment.
People shut down North American oil production -- what they're really doing is outsourcing our oil [production] to the countries in the world that are terrible in environmental protection. Take Nigeria -- thousands of toxic oil spills that will never be cleaned up.
In fact, Nigerian drillers have spilled twice as much oil over the last 50 years as American drillers, despite producing just half as much.
It also turns out that the BP spill wasn’t so bad. Despite predictions of chemical damage that “will last for a decade,” last month, the “National Incident Commander” Paul Zukunft announced they would stop cleanup activities, because 17,000 water samples collected showed oil levels that the EPA considered safe.
The massive injury to wildlife didn’t happen either. U. Maryland Environmental Policy Professor Robert Nelson notes that:
“As of November 2, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that 2,263 oil-soiled bird remains had been collected in the Gulf, far fewer than the 225,000 birds killed by the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989.”
Ironically, Mother Nature is dirtier than Man. Some 1 million barrels of oil enter the ocean each year naturally, seeping through the ocean floor. Every six years, that seepage exceeds the oil spilled by BP.
As so often happens, the media hypes a problem. Politicians then rush to the scene and make the problem worse.