Why Beach Towns Shouldn’t Fear Oil Wells

I’ve addressed that issue over at my blog, with a focus on California and (predictably enough) the Pacific Ocean. Certainly, one of the benefits of increasing drilling in the Atlantic, the Pacific, and (eventually) ANWR is that we won’t have the same periodic disruptions in domestic supply that we currently endure, with so many of our eggs in the “Gulf of Mexico” basket.

There is, however, a huge amount of petroleum under that Gulf, and given the sophisticated engineering techniques we now use—and the enhanced safety procedures that have been established—it’s time to open up the Eastern Gulf to development as well. This will naturally leave Florida as concerned about their Western Coast as I am about the California beaches.

The answer, however, is the same: we must remember that moratoria on drilling in domestic waters have given a lot of us an outdated notion of how close to shore the oil rig needs to be, and how well it can be camouflaged.

It is extremely, extremely rare at this point for an oil facility to be built in plain site (like the one in Long Beach Harbor, disguised as three “fantasy islands,” created around the time I was born). So everyone who lives in a tourist town needs to take a deep breath: oil platforms are much more sophisticated these days, and can be beneficial to marine life, the nation’s economy, surfers, yachters, and tourists who just want to watch a pretty sunrise/sunset.

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