Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Should Gulf drilling resume?


Now that the Deepwater Horizon oil gusher seems to be capped - permanently - the next obvious question is - should the moratorium on Gulf of Mexico drilling be lifted?

There are two obvious competing desires here. On the one hand, there are those who say another environmental disaster would prove the death knoll of the Gulf region, including its economy. On the other hand, the moratorium has suspended the jobs of thousands of people and has stifled a largely oil production dependent economy.

A new Gallup poll reflects those conflicting demands.

It finds that 49 percent of Americans believe drilling should resume in the area of the gusher. Nearly the same number - 46 percent - say no.

This underscores the difficulty in developing good public policy for moving forward with oil exploration. And the need to find ways to - should drilling resume - ensure that safeguards are in place to prevent another disaster like the one sparked by the Deepwater explosion.

On a related matter, the same poll found that 48 percent of Americans disapprove - and 44 percent approve - of the way President Obama handled the Gulf crisis.

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