How aggressive should the United States be in developing its own sources of oil?

With oil prices rising and the Middle East in turmoil, the Interior Department has approved the first deepwater drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico since last year’s BP disaster. Today’s Question: How aggressive should the United States be in developing its own sources of oil?

  • Steve the Cynic

    How aggressive? Not at all. Vigorous, perhaps. There’s already too much aggression in the world.

  • midas

    For the short term, domestic oil will help. For the long term, non-carbon-based energy is necessary. Solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear are the best choices, but there’s no significant untapped hydroelectric capacity remaining, and solar and wind are good supplements, but can’t meet baseload demand. That’s why we need to develop nuclear power.

    To those who claim it’s “too risky,” I would point out that carbon-based energy has plenty of risks as well (CO2 emissions, dwindling supply, coal mine explosions & collapses, oil rig explosions, tanker spills, etc.). Safety concerns can be managed quite well with new reactor technology and careful regulation & monitoring of waste. With additional research & development, the industry could design reactors that actually use transuranium “waste” as a fuel source.

    Yes, it’s expensive. Is it expensive enough to warrant continued reliance on a finite supply of carbon-based fuels?

  • David

    We should be no more than 1/4 as aggressive looking for domestic oil as we should be in promoting people driving practical cars, mass transit, car pooling, and driving no faster than the speed limit. And don’t get me started in this suburban sprawl making it necessary to drive to EVERYWHERE.

    This would be way more practical for everyone in the long run, except maybe the majority of the more poorly run auto makers. Boo-hoo for them.

  • Paul J

    Cries of “Drill, Baby! Drill!” translate in my mind to “Screw our grandkids!”

    We really need to hang on to some oil to provide a future source of fuel for purposes where there is no good substitute, say, for jet engines or heavy equipment.

    I searched for articles on “when will the oil run out?” There were no sure answers, but the ballpark guess is in decades, not centuries. Some also spoke of a “hard landing” vs. a “soft landing” as the oil runs out. A rapid end to the flow of petroleum energy will make the recent economic turmoil seem like a day at the beach.

    We need to be vigorous now in developing renewable energy and new energy efficiencies! Don’t continue “kicking the can down the road,” as they say.

  • greg

    If you mean some form of traditional drilling progam … Not At All -1st- Oil is a key economic and strategic asset – why would you use up your asset first? 2nd – there is plenty of oil to be found in efficiency, and choice. Raise fuel prices and force people to think through their use of energy in general. It will increase the suitability of alternative fuels ( solar, nuclear, etc.) , social patterns (scheduling ot work-shifts), building design, trasportation systems and the big one – general consumerism. Recycling of all materials ( formerly waste, chafff, dross, etc.) In addition, we need to get rid of some old irrational fears. For example – the hemp plant can provide a wide variety of solutions – from a fiber useful for cloth an paper that requires less toxic processing – to oils and chemicals. We need to relearn how to adapt.

  • Stan

    Well put midas … on the risk side you failed to mention: war, pertodictators, environmental damage and loss of habitate … Thomas Friedman’s book “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” does an excellent job of covering this subject … our “aggression” needs to focus on developing alternate energy sources to carbon based AND monocultured biobased fuels.

  • Carrie

    The U.S. should be more “aggressively” looking at all sources of alternative energy, not oil.

  • bsimon

    We know that oil is a finite resource. We know that domestic supplies are unable to meet domestic demand. We know that reliance on imported oil contributes to the trade deficit. We know that the money sent overseas for oil tends to go to regimes unfriendly to us. Perhaps it is time to aggressively pursue alternatives to oil.

  • Dee the piffler

    We should STOP aggressive, persuit of oil. It has already cost the American taxpayers, for many generatiuons to come. Unfortuately the tax payers have little to say about it anymore. The Corporate Millitary/Industrial complex now runs our Govt. for the benifit of the wealthy, while our children, not theirs, lose their lives and futures.

  • steve

    we should be searching for alternative sources not to so dependent on the oil-everytime i go to the pump i crinch, and i only drive when there is a tailwind!

  • Kevin VC

    I figure with the Trillions in profits in Oil, the oil industry is all the top 10 companies in the world, and that is PROFIT after costs and revenue… money in the bank…. They would be able to start doing it on their own.

    After all is that not why we GIVE them 40 BILLION dollars each year and continue to do so?

    Or is that money being used to pay the rich more of our tax dollars?

    Sorry, but they were given a ‘funded’ mandate to do this anyway… and no results.

    We really need to be using SOMETHING, ANYTHING, else…

    (And don’t get me started on oil speculators never giving money back to the consumer when the crisis they ‘speculate on’ never happen in the end…)

  • Amy

    Wrong question. Glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks so. Just ask yourself how fast you want to see global destruction from fossil fuel burning and how fast you want to run out of these finite resources and you’ll have your answer.

  • Matthew

    Not nearly as aggressively as we should be developing alternative energy sources such as wind and solar.

  • jack goldman

    As long as we print fake pretend worthless US Federal Reserve debt notes and get real valuable oil, the life blood of our economy, we should burn other oil, not our own oil.

    In real 1963 silver money the price of oil is below $5 a barrel. In fake, pretend, fraudulent Fed bank debt notes it’s $100 a barrel and will keep rising. Oil is cheaper today than in 1963 measured in real 1963 US silver money. In fake pretend fraudulent money of course it’s $100 a barrel. This requires those who buy it to earn $200, pay $100 in income taxes, and get $100 in oil. It’s a Ponzi Madoff fraud.

    Get with it America. We don’t have an oil problem. We have a currency debasement problem that is infecting all walks of life. Protect yourself. No one else can or will. Until we have real money we are doomed.

  • LKnudsen

    In tandem with developing clean renewable energy very aggressive. It has been 35 years since I was a kid and first heard about the energy crisis. Time to be energy independent.

  • Maureen Hackett

    My understanding of deep water oil is that it becomes part of the international oil market to be sold to the highest bidder. The oil drawn out of our Gulf of Mexico is not “our oil,” it belongs to the company that drills it to be sold to whomever they choose. I would like MPR to explore the chain from the drillers or suppliers to the buyers of oil and inform the listeners if this is true.

  • Steven B.

    It’s getting to the point that US oil extraction is costly and dangerous, deep water drilling , oil shale fracking, oil sands, etc. Burn the other countries oil until their out then charge them double for sticking it to us at every turn! let’s cap every well in in this country pay the higher prices for now with our funny money and wait for the world to collapse.

  • kimberle Linder

    When will our government realize that the pursuit of any oil, anywhere, will not benefit Americans forever?

    Our money would be better spent developing alternative energy methods. If the alternative energy initiative would have taken hold in the 1970’s, we wouldn’t be at the mercy of relying on other countries for oil – not to mention having to face the possible destruction of our land by more oil refineries in the U.S. and Canada.

    This is really backward thinking! If we start producing more oil here, it will only be the oil corporations and executives who benefit! It’s time to replace corporate greed with a real sustainable energy future!

  • TunerGeek

    First and foremost we need to immediately concentrate on conservation. Carpool to work. Business needs to allow a lot more work-from-home time. Mass transit. These are things we can do NOW that have immediate effect. Not only is less fuel burned en route, far less is burned idling and in slow-and-go traffic.

    Next we need to impose a surcharge on those who drive new (and new’ish) inefficient vehicles. I don’t believe that half the people who drive (e.g.) Ford F-150 pickups have any need for a pickup truck on a day-to-day basis. An annual surcharge on mileage for such vehicles is certainly in order. They do more damage to roadways and they waste fuel.

    Interesting notion: if you have a 10mpg vehicle and a 20mpg vehicle, which is the first one you should upgrade by 5mpg? Most assuredly it’s the 10mpg. At 10mpg, you burn 10 gallons on a 100-mile trip. After the upgrade to 15mpg, you burn 6-2/3 gallons, a 3-1/3 gallon savings. Upgrading the 20mpg vehicle you go from 5 gallons on that trip to 4 gallons, a one gallon savings… so you save 3-1/3 times as much fuel by upgrading the 10mpg vehicle.

  • wondering wayne

    It seems to me that this is a mult-layered problem. Not just a decision as to whether we should be aggressive to find and use our own oil supplies. I believe that we actually have 1000’s of wells that have been around since the 1950’s that were drilled, verified, and then “capped” to be used at a later date in this country already. Seems people have forgotten about those. Maybe the same way that gasoline was nothing more than a waste product in the very early days of oil refining to make kerosene. Big oil never seems to want people to know about the true history of oil or how they truly run their business.

    Oil is only one head of the Hydra. If you want to really get back to a position of power in the United States, 1st thing you need to do is rework the tariff and trade in-equities that has given the edge to foreign counties and has made “Made in the U.S.A” seemingly a thing of the past. Maybe we should look at putting the real dollar value on the millions of tons of food that go to other regions of the world instead of “discounting” it. And yes, we should look to becoming energy independant, and to those of you who say atomic energy is the way, I have to agree. Listen, in the next 20 years we have to re-work and replace a vast majority of our power grid in this country, what better time would there be to make the move to more nuclear power plants? And yes, with all the newer technologies, the waste products could be used in new ways to drain every ounce of useable energy from every atom!

    But hey, what do I know? I’m feeling light headed from all the cash that is bleeding out of my wallet!!!!

  • Patrick

    @Steven B

    Exactly. This one-time energy source is being foolishly wasted. Think of the endless products created from oil, all of which will skyrocket in price when oil becomes scarce. We should drill and cap…and wait. What a perfect investment for the next century.

    Meanwhile we should be securing and developing fresh water resources, something the world is running short on


    Aside from the millions of unnecessary cars, the tens of thousands of flights per day is obscene. America’s spoiled century has ended. Time to own up.

  • Neil

    I agree with ‘wondering wayne’, at least regarding rethinking the trade imbalance issue.

    I want to see, and perhaps there is, an overall comprehensive strategy on becoming energy efficient and independent, not reactionary or piecemeal responses to these oil spikes.

    Barring any behind-the-scenes manipulations by big oil/energy I would like to believe that there is a stable energy creation and consumption/conservation plan in place. Specifics should include continued development of renewable energy, a modern grid, using our resources here like natural gas, etc.