PERRY: America can't afford not to drill in Gulf
If we don't, hostiles like Cuba and Venezuela will
Those who disparage offshore drilling - and seem eager to ban it - ignore that the Gulf of Mexico accounts for one-third of U.S. oil production. Without domestic production, we would be spending even more on imported oil - which already is running $1.5 billion a day.
Any sensible response to the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig - and the huge oil spill that's fouling Gulf waters - needs to recognize two facts: First, the demand for oil is expected to increase. Second, America cannot suddenly stop offshore drilling.
The best place in the United States to find new oil is in the Gulf's untapped deep-water areas, in the Atlantic and off Alaska. These three new drilling areas combined hold as much as 22 billion barrels of oil, which is more than our current total estimated reserves. This oil would help meet U.S. energy needs for decades.
But if those areas are closed to oil production, we would need to import more oil from overseas, probably from countries that are nationalistic and, in some cases, hostile. Some of the countries are run by despots such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.