The Obama administration's decision to maintain a ban on oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts is a mistake, according to a University of Illinois expert who wrote a six-volume book series on marine pollution.
"It's a ridiculous decision on the part of the Interior Department," said John W. Kindt, a professor of business and legal policy at Illinois. "The previous 180-day moratorium really hurt a lot of businesses. Well, a seven-year ban is going to sting even more."
Kindt says giving the oil companies a public spanking through a seven-year ban isn't going to solve our energy problems, and that unreasonably prohibiting offshore drilling will not only exacerbate the region's economic woes, it also will strengthen U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
"Our motto should be 'Drill, Baby, Drill' but 'Safely, Baby, Safely,' " he said. "We have two wars in the Middle East, and while we do need alternate sources of energy, in the interim we still need to safely develop our off-shore resources. That means we need to open up both the East Coast and California for drilling, although California is not going to like that. But we've got to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time."
I suspect that this opinion probably sounds pretty reasonable to most Americans, and it's even more forceful coming from the author of the encyclopedic "Marine Pollution and the Law of the Sea."