In January, the Trump administration announced a plan to expand offshore oil and gas drilling into nearly all U.S. coastal waters. Under the proposal, hundreds of miles of coastline along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans--including areas where drilling has been blocked for decades-would be opened to oil and gas exploration.
The plan has sparked controversy. The oil and gas industry has cheered the move, saying it will boost the nation's energy production and make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil. But environmental groups are opposed, saying the drilling would put vulnerable coastlines and ecosystems at risk. Here, an official from a trade association representing oil and gas companies and the governor of Virginia face off on whether to expand oil drilling in offshore areas.
Natural gas and oil play a critical role in our modern quality of life. In addition to fueling transportation and electricity, these resources provide the chemical building blocks for everything from lifesaving medical devices and 3-D printers to cosmetics and plastics.
The United States is fortunate to have ample energy resources to meet our needs and the technology to develop them safely. Strong domestic oil and gas production has reduced reliance on overseas energy, cutting costs for American homes and businesses and making us more secure. At the same time, carbon emissions from power plants in the U.S. have plunged to nearly 30-year lows thanks to growing use of clean natural gas.
Offshore resources are a key part of U.S. energy security, supplying more than 1 million barrels of oil per day for the past 20 years. And that's with 94 percent of offshore areas--everywhere except part of the Gulf of Mexico--off-limits. Nations from Canada to Brazil are exploring for energy in the Atlantic, and Russia and China are doing the same in the Arctic--while U.S. resources in those same oceans are locked away. To preserve U.S. energy security and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, we need to get off the sidelines and see what U.S. energy resources are out there.
Americans all agree that protecting our beautiful coastline is essential. That's why we must make use of technological innovation and stringent new safety standards to help ensure that offshore energy development is safer than ever.
In the coming decades, worldwide energy demand is expected to jump almost 30 percent. Despite the increasing use of renewable energy such as wind and solar, government...