Has the Gulf Oil Spill Affected Your Stance on Increasing Domestic Drilling?

| 5/5/2010 4:50:26 PM

Tags: Gulf oil spill, domestic oil, offshore drilling, question to readers,

We recently posted a poll to find out if or how news of the Gulf oil spill is affecting your opinion on increasing domestic drilling — and 320 of you responded! Of the options provided, the answer “Renewables will take time. I’d rather use domestic oil while we work toward all-renewables” got the most votes, with  43.6 percent or 157 votes. Continuing to rely on foreign oil (to prevent further damage to domestic ecological systems) received the fewest votes. (You can see the full results below.)  

Of course, that was a couple of weeks ago, and since then news of the spill and its potential to possibly surpass even the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989 in catastrophic wildlife loss and other environmental damage has only gotten worse. Whether you're concerned about human health, wildlife, water system health, jobs, the food supply, the economy, oil prices, or any of the other areas affected by such a spill, this event will no doubt bring significant, if not devastating, effects.  

While the poll gives us a picture of what you’re thinking, it’s limiting in that you can only choose from the options offered. So we want to know, in your words, if your opinion about increasing domestic oil exploration and drilling has changed in light of the event and, if so, why? 


In light of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, what do you think about the talk of opening more U.S. drilling operations? 

Total Votes: 360
john g_3
5/26/2010 5:06:27 PM

This is a wake up call. The worlds love affaire with HydroCarbons needs to end! Our dependence on the cumbustion engine is arcane and antiquated, all based on two industries that have taken us by the nads and squeezed every penny they can get to make themselves multibillion dollar corporations. Now we have bailed out the auto industry on one hand and have been lied to and royaly screwed by the otehr side of the coin, the oil industry! Isn't it enough, have we come so far only to be so blind! I grew up in an oil family with a grandfather who worked for Exxon's refinery for 49 years. He never drove to work, in all those years rain or shine, he rode a bicycle. I remember cars that would run on anything but water disappearing on the shelf of the Oil industry never to be seen again. Carburetors that got a hunderd miles to the gallon, gone in to the dust bevause of greedy oil men. It's time, who will be stand up and once and for all demand change!! The era of an economy doomed to fail based on hydrocarbons is at an end. We must accept it's fate and move on to better things!

glen graham
5/12/2010 1:18:17 PM

"And why would we even risk such a thing? So we can have cheap gas to drive our gas-guzzling SUV's to the grocery store?" - you've got it in one. Today I watched like every day, parents in cars bringing thier kids to my kids school from less than half a mile away - I know those cars then turn around and go straight back home. In summer the parents sit waiting outside the school at the end of the day, windows closed and engines running purely to power the aircon - (I just open a window!) so you are quite right, in those people's minds, the cost is justifed for their comfort I'm afraid, and that's why the little bit folks like us try and do is swamped by what the other 90% of the public are doing. That's not being self-righteous, it's just being realistic. Imagine the mess when they start drilling in the Arctic regions - because it *will* happen eventualy, depsite the treaties, because folks want their aircon and their 1/4 mile drives to the store! I've always said, I can imagine our great grandchildren shaking their heads in disbelief when they are told what "important" things we used all the oil up for!

5/11/2010 8:23:10 PM

My position has not changed on oil drilling. I am against new oil drilling. I see no reason why my position should change. As for existing drilling, there are upgrades which will give more opturtunities to shut off the oil in of an emergency. These upgrades should be implimented on existing wells. All the alternative transportation fuels which have been proposed have problems. I don't think any should be implimented at this time. We will continue to use foreign and domestic oil for the foreseeable future. As for transportation, we should be focusing on CAFE (gas mileage) and ISTEA (highway bill) for ways of reducing consumption. "The science does not support the hype" is not true. The jury is in. Global warming is real and caused by man. Reducing CO2 emissions should be our top priority. I get around via foot, bicycle, bus, train, and an 80 cc Honda scooter. It gets 100 mpg.

carmen ortiz
5/11/2010 4:25:08 PM

I vote for none of the above. I am very opposed to drilling in the ocean because things like what happened are common and the consequences disastrous as has been proven many times. I don't like drilling for oil on land but we have no choice because renewable energy has been sabotaged for as long as it has been available. No, I don't mean explosions or anything like that. Companies and the government (which can be bought, as we have seen time and time again) have gone out of their way to either regulate those trying to develop renewable source to death or making it so expensive that only the wealth can afford it. Technology that existed decades ago has been bought from the developers and suppressed by those who benefit from not allowing it. When 'our' government stops being for the companies and the rich and goes back to being for the people, the problems will be resolved.

5/11/2010 10:46:08 AM

during the 70's they knew there was a energy crisis...nothing was done. The answer still seems to be drill more! There are options that do not need oil...compressed air is and can be the answer. fossil fuels will run out...why not do something now?...why wait another 30 to 40 years?

james thurman_3
5/11/2010 9:15:52 AM

WHEN are we going to stop letting BIG OIL COMPONIES CONTROL our life and STOP LYING TO USE.In 1969 chrysler 50+ mph,1974 Us Plywood,Anderson,Ca Ford 1/2 ton V8 fully loaded,98.6 mpg Engine destroid by local dealer. 1987 Popular Sience GMC in excess of 50 MPG. Pattons bought by STANDARD OIL. WHY???

james thurman_3
5/11/2010 9:15:26 AM

WHEN are we going to STOP letting BIG OIL COMPONYS CONTROL US .1969 Chrysler,69+MPG ,1974 96.+ MPG 1983 Popular Science artical GMC 50+mpg . all pattons bought out by Standard OIL. Shelved under LOCK AND KEY

5/10/2010 6:33:33 PM

The spill sucks but even if we quit drilling off shore no one else would and I'm guessing the US has more safety regulations on off shore drilling than countries like Cuba or China. We need to keep drilling as we move into a alternative source of energy and once we have this alternative source of energy we need to keep drilling as long as there's a market for oil in other countries at least until we get a grip on our national dept.

5/10/2010 6:32:05 PM

t. brandt I agree with all but d) building up huge national dept to foreign countries is a horrible strategy that is collapsing our country's economy. We should drill to pay off our debt & find alternatives in the mean time. Our enemies are far ahead of the US as far as growing renewable bio fuel.

elton lyon
5/10/2010 6:17:02 PM

Everyone keeps harping on finding an alternative energy source...stop using carbon based fuels. I got an alternative fuel for you.....sea water. Now build something that will use it and stop pretending you are not as much a part of the problem as everyone else.

lee johnson_3
5/10/2010 4:18:32 PM

The Gulf oil spill has taught us one very lesson that we should have known. No matter how careful you are something is going to go wrong. Most of the time it is going to be containable something we barely take notice of. A few thousand gallons of oil a couple hundred barrels. Then it happens we all knew it could we all knew it would we just didn't want to admit it. Now we have millions of gallons of oil in the gulf and no way to get rid of it. What are we going to do. Fix it the best we can and try and make sure this kind of accident doesn't happen again and wait until the next one.

linda pointer
5/10/2010 12:30:14 PM

WHEN will people understand that drilling on American land does NOT mean more oil for America? BP (British Petroleum) caused this current disaster - are they drilling for the USA? Companies lease the rights to drill all over the world, then they sell to whomever they like, it has no bearing on where they GET the oil. This misunderstanding is no accident - the oil companies want more fields opened up so they can have more profit. That's fine, they are in business. But we, the consumers, need to wake up and educate ourselves. "Foreign oil" is a riduculous misnomer. Drilling on American soil does NOT mean more oil for America.

5/10/2010 11:29:09 AM

I find it interesting that all of the sudden a major catastrophic oil spill occurred soon after the President's departure of his stance of being against off shore drilling to all of the sudden supporting it. That aside. We have the technology, we need the support of sustainable energy to make it affordable to all and to make it feasible for the companies involved to make 100% sustainable energy products. But in the meantime, we must make sure oil and coal mining companies take great care in making sure their harvesting of fossil fuels are done in a fashion that prohibits mistakes and accidents on both a human and environmental level. We cannot afford to poison our natural environment from such accidents as what occurred in the Gulf or lose our people from deadly mistakes and careless mining practices that slowly poison the workers. Another note on using domestic oil, why is a foreign oil company drilling in our waters???????????????

5/10/2010 11:02:04 AM

I am the News Director of an AM radio station in the panhandle of Florida. Before the oil spill many of our residents were against drilling close to shore and in the gulf south of the panhandle. Their main reasons were the effect it would have on our tourism industry, interference with the military mission (the gulf is a large base) and the damage to the environment; in that order. Since the oil spill, the call to no drill close to shore has only increase. The only difference I have seen is a great awareness of the environment. Our local emergency management (Walton County), has seen an almost overwhelming response by people wanting to be trained to help with cleanup. We are also very sensitive because our county is home to the rare coastal dune lakes. Authorities have taken a very proactive stance to protect the beaches and the dune lakes, going as far as putting protection into place before DEP approval.

5/10/2010 10:51:57 AM

I nominate 70% of the US public (or Utne readers) for a Darwin Award, bringing destruction on themselves and thereby slightly cleaning up the gene pool. Sorry about your 30%, but bad company leads to that...

doug lass
5/10/2010 10:45:22 AM

I think the oil spill is disgusting, but for now drilling is the only way to meet our energy needs. What we Americans need is for the government AND the consumers work for making todays alternative fuels standard fuels in the near future. That will require EVERYBODY to do their part in conserving the oil based fuels NOW. from the government down to every citizen in the country. It should be the federal government starting right now to PV panels and solar hot water on EVERY federal building starting RIGHT NOW. Yes it's a large up front cost, but it will pay for itself in 10 years or so, and the savings will begin to accumulte. Of course putting in wind turbines and methane digesters in both the House and Senate will help since there is so much hot air and BS being produced!

5/10/2010 10:11:45 AM

The writing is on the wall. It's there in black and white for those who care to read it. OUR OIL BASED ECONOMY IS BAD FOR THE PLANET! It doesn't matter how many successful offshore oil platforms there are. It just takes one bad accident to kill wildlife, to kill fishing, to kill livlihoods, and quite frankly, to kill an entire ecosystem. And why would we even risk such a thing? So we can have cheap gas to drive our gas-guzzling SUV's to the grocery store? So we can pump even more plastics and petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides into the ecosystem? We only have just one home. Just one planet that we all share. Are we really going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg? It's time to wake up! Our oil based economies and our dependence on fossil fuels are killing our planet.

5/10/2010 9:57:56 AM

I believe we should continue the offshore drilling in the rigs that still exist as we work towards a solution of more domestic renewable resources. We need to eliminate our international dependency on fossil fuels. I don't think more rigs should be erected and this one which had distinct issues of methane gas bursts which were considered higher than normal, should somehow be permanently shut down. ALL rigs should be re-evaluated and upgraded before yet another disaster such as what is happening right now along the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi and the rest of the gulf states. Any rig which does not meet standards should be shut down until upgrades are obtained which will hopefully prevent this from happening again. Our oceans' ecosystems are already in jeopardy. How many more of these "accidents" need to occur before our oil ministers declare "enough is enough???"

eric bottomly
5/10/2010 9:39:33 AM

Brandt, "There are 3500+ oil rigs off US shores. One is having a problem." Is that what you call it, a problem? What would it take to qualify as a disaster? An assertion is not a fact, please quote real sources, scientific, not heresay for your factoids such as the amount of natural seepage. Doesn't it get uncomfortable with your head in the sand?

d mcalpin
5/10/2010 9:37:04 AM

perhaps drilling closer to shore would make more sense and be safer. we need to be able to provide for ourselves and not depend on the rest of the world. oil isn't just used for fuel - it is used in medicines, cosmetics, clothing, plastics. the government gets a ton of money from each gallon of fuel sold.

bill shenk
5/10/2010 9:34:43 AM

Count the real cost to continue as we are, let alone expand. Use oil we are now pumping. Shift to renewables rather than import or increase production. It will cost us more later in disruption and $s. It is not cost nor security nor ability but short term profit that keeps us going down the same path.

aj rn
5/10/2010 9:00:30 AM

Reality is-- we need domestic oil production.. It's a security thing.. If you can't feed yourself AND produce energy-- and rely on others to do it for you, there WILL be "conditions" to it happening.. Those conditions are akin to slavery.. That said-- I agree with t brandt.. ..and I know I'll be flamed for it. But, I still think we should have the ability to go 100% domestic, and like OPEC, cap how much we draw off, in any given year.. AJ RN

5/10/2010 9:00:30 AM

We should do true cost accounting when we price energy. Were we to do that by taking away all of the governmental tax and research support, shipping lane security costs etc., estimated to be up to $200 Billion per year, then carbon fuels would not be as cheap as they are now and alternative energy sources would compete well. Continuing on the path we're on without quickly improving our energy efficiency and planning for a sustainable energy future will spell D.O.O.M for this country. The good old days of cheap oil are over and they've gotten us, worldwide, into an unsustainable mess of too many people that cannot be supported by expensive fuel and natural gas based fertilizer.

keith keller_1
5/10/2010 8:57:27 AM

Drill,baby,drill? This is similar to moving social security to the stock market. When there's enought potential wind energy for all our current energy needs in North and South Dakota alone, why would anyone want to risk building costly Nuclear Plants or drill off our coasts?!!! We have had and should have wonderful electric vehicles if it weren't for Big Oil! Greed is making us a backward country. It's time for the Federal Govenment to seriously back alternative energy with tax incentives and grants. We could, as in Israel, have solar panels recharge our cars in carports set up at home, in malls and at workplaces. There is no such thing as safe nuclear, clean coal and unlimited oil. Let's bring back Jimmy Carter and put a solar panel back on top of the White house and all public buildings!

5/10/2010 8:40:35 AM

Since the Gulf oil spill, there should be a moratorium put on off shore drilling until we can contain it and drill safely; not just for people, but for wildlife as well.

5/10/2010 8:37:21 AM

Hang the irsponsable Engineers (?) up to dry. Manual fail safe shut off's could be been built in. Until America and rest of the nations of the world get smart and build an intrasturctures that REDUCE our dependance on "OIL" period, we will continue to have these problems. Untill then we NEED OIL. Point #2 The whole oil industry needs to be fined, for charging the prices they do and sucking up HUGE PROFITS. WHY should some companys be allowed to charge 15 to 25 cents PER GALLON over another company? BP is one of the High side companies. I do not feel sorry for their 'BOTTOM LINE!

5/9/2010 2:28:20 PM

3500 rigs and one that has a huge problem.So 1/3500 is acceptable to you?We may not be able to stop this spill completely because of the immense pressures and depths involved;we may be seeing the Gulf of Mexico enshrined in oil permanently,and that is acceptable in your eyes?One is enough.How many nuclear power plants do we have; all it took was one accident to shut down building any more until we're certain of our engineering practices.Traditional sources ARE depleted or else we would'nt be taking the chances we are,drilling 18,000 feet a mile from the surface of the water,so close to a lot of the South's livelihood.If natural oil seeps so much out of the ocean floor then why are'nt we all over that?Why drill 18,000 feet then?The Chinese and Indians are doing a wonderful job of using up foreign oil sources at a far faster rate than we are.There's a lot more of them than there are of us and they want what we have.The technology exists to make crude oil and a lot of it through polymerisation,why are we bothering to go out and drill it?Whats the point? Thing is I'm no treehugger but there are better ways to do what we're doing and we're too insistent on using the old ways.

t brandt
5/8/2010 1:51:35 PM

Please note: a) There are 3500+ oil rigs off US shores. One is having a problem. b)Accidental oil spills have been decreased by 10X over the last 2 decades compared to the previous 2 decades. c) Natural oil seeps from the ocean floor at 10x the rate of industrial spills. d) We should be using up foreign oil before we use up our domestic supplies for strategic reasons and for economic reasons. By the law of supply and demand, oil prices will be lowest when both sources are still available and highest when only one source is left. Let ours be the last remaining source. e)There is no good reason to use alternative energy sources that cost 3x the cost of traditional energy until the traditional sources are depleted. Concerns about CO2 are exaggerated for political reasons. The science does not support the hype.

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