Should the government clamp a moratorium on new offshore oil and natural gas drilling until more is known about how the Gulf of Mexico spill could have been prevented or minimized?
Key congressional Democrats are urging the Obama administration to halt current oil drilling in the gulf, postpone planned drilling off Alaska, and abandon plans to drill off the Virginia coast. Meanwhile, a group of Gulf Coast lawmakers from both chambers is asking the administration to lift the ban on shallow-water drilling. The month-long suspension imposed by the administration is set to expire May 28 when the Interior Department issues its safety report on offshore energy production. There are seven pending drilling permit applications, two in deep waters and five in shallow.
Should the administration extend the current suspension? Should it be broadened to current and/or future drilling operations in the Arctic Ocean, off the East Coast and other parts of the gulf? Can the U.S. afford to curb its offshore drilling, given its dependence on oil?