We cannot drill our way to energy independence. It is estimated that the United States has only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, yet we generate about 25% of the world demand. Energy security can only be achieved by reducing our addiction to oil.
In addition, oil and gas companies already hold leases to nearly 68 million acres of federal land and waters that are not currently producing oil and gas. In fact, according to the Department of the Interior, of all the oil and gas believed to exist on the Outer Continental Shelf, 82% of the natural gas and 79% of the oil is located in areas that are currently open for leasing.
Expanding offshore drilling will not significantly decrease prices at the pump.
Even once full production is achieved (not before 2030), new offshore drilling will have a negligible effect on oil prices, according to the government’s Energy Information Association.
Clean oceans and beaches are extremely valuable both culturally and economically. Tourism in America is a trillion-dollar industry with coastal communities contributing over $700 billion annually to our economy.
Alternatives to oil exist. For example, shifting to a fleet of plug-in and electric vehicles will greatly reduce the need for oil and will also allow our cars to be powered by clean energy, such as wind power. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that offshore wind in U.S. waters could generate more than the current total installed electric capacity.