“It has been a good month for American energy development. The tax reform signed by President Trump contained a provision allowing for oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Last week the Interior Department proposed opening up wide swaths of territory offshore,” according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.
“This is good policy for a lot of reasons, but the least obvious is that it will help the environment. Despite howls from the green lobby, the truth is that it’s less hazardous to drill for oil on land and in shallow waters using conventional rigs.”
“BP’s Deepwater Horizon was drilling in about 5,000 feet of water when it exploded in 2010. If the accident had occurred on land or in shallow seas, the spill could have been contained in three days instead of three months," reports the WSJ.
“The company [BP] took the blame for the disaster, paying $19 billion, but I blame U.S. environmental policy for chasing oil producers further and further out on the risk curve. For more than 40 years, the U.S. government has had a moratorium on drilling in shallow water, putting nearly 100 billion barrels out of reach.”
“This overregulation has been neither prudent nor partisan. President George H.W. Bush, a former oilman, enacted a separate and redundant moratorium in 1990; Bill Clinton extended it in 1998. And approval rates for drilling permits on federal lands plummeted during the Obama administration,” says Landstreet.
“Drilling in the ANWR poses less risk to the environment than fracking. It would also be cheaper. Fracking was invented in response to drilling restrictions, as a way to produce oil from shale formations on private land, where government restrictions don’t apply,” according to the Journal.
“As long as the global economy demands hydrocarbons, companies will produce them, even if they must go to great lengths to do so. Scarcity leads to high prices, which makes fracking and high-risk deep-water drilling possible. Boosting the supply of oil from land and shallow-water rigs would reduce these hazards.”
“Deregulating government-controlled territories like the ANWR and the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf is a step in the right direction. If a freer market can prevent another tragedy like Deepwater Horizon, environmentalists should see it as a win.”
Click here to read the original article from the Wall Street Journal.