Solipsism anyone?

Echoes and reverberations of the "drill, baby, drill" chorus won't go away. It hit NC, too, in 2008, and now we have a July 28, 2009 byline.

The Southeast Energy Alliance, a consortium of oil and gas interests, recently revealed what's waiting just off the coast - jobs and money, allegedly.

If only I could give the estimate a closer look... You see, as of 10:14 a.m. Google won't let me visit the site of the Southeast Energy Alliance. The Warning: "This site may harm your computer." Bing: ditto. That rules out me actually reading the report, but I can probably intuit its contents: drilling is an economic panacea and if only those dastardly environmental hippies weren't preventing people from having jobs.

Well, no. Let's recap. The main reason many environmental groups oppose offshore drilling is that it doesn't really solve any of the problems it's purported to.
  1. It takes years and millions in subsidies to get the oil.
  2. The oil conglomerates aren't required to sell the oil here in the US.
  3. Fossil fuels aren't efficient, the price fluctuates at the whim of vaguely understood interest groups like OPEC and speculators, and the emissions aren't all that great (purposefully understated).

How about some NC based reasons:

  • Do we really want massive tankers in "the Graveyard of the Atlantic?"
  • Hurricanes
  • No oil refineries in our state
  • See reason 2 above and replace "US" with "NC"
To my mind, the worst frame on offshore drilling is the constant appeal that this is about state's rights. Well, actually, the waters of the state of North Carolina extend to about three miles offshore, and the sounds, and maybe a few other small outliers. Further than that and you've got federal waters and federal leases.

So, let's look at the Gulf states, who are apparently just rolling in the oil dough. From the same article linked above:
Gulf states currently share royalties from federal leases, but the figures are modest: about $25 million shared among four states last year.
By those numbers, each state got a whopping $6.25 million dollars. Last I checked, the North Carolina budget deficit stood over a billion dollars. Plain and simple, the typical (remember, I can't get access to the report so I have to generalize) pro-drilling argument is comprised of oversimplifications, wishful thinking and endless speculation.

What we know: the NC coast has thriving fisheries and an economically important coastal tourism industry, both of which would be impacted by drilling. It's a cost/benefit situation, not a win/win.

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