Monday, August 4, 2008

World Mining News-TBJ poll: Readers mixed on N.C. oil drilling Triangle Business Journal

Today’s mining news on Oil drilling off the North Carolina coast: A good way to cut prices or a rig to nowhere? According to Triangle Business Journal readers, it depends on who you ask.

From July 23 through July 29, visitors to TBJ’s Web site were asked to answer the poll question: “Would drilling for oil off the North Carolina coast help reduce gas prices?”

We asked the question because the issue has been in the news recently. Republicans including President Bush and presidential candidate John McCain say they favor offshore oil drilling, which is currently banned by federal law, because it would increase supply and thus lower prices. Democratic candidate Barack Obama doesn’t favor a switch, saying that offshore drilling is a bait-and-switch that would have no immediate impact.

As for TBJ readers? Of the 825 people who responded to our unscientific survey, 33 percent said drilling would help “a lot” to ease gas prices. Another 23 percent of people agreed that it would help, though “only a little.”

On the flip side, 33 percent of respondents say drilling wouldn’t help at all. The remaining 11 percent of voters picked the option, “It doesn’t matter. We shouldn’t drill.”

The question sparked numerous comments. What follows is a list of some of those comments, all of which were made anonymously:

Adding supply helps meet demand and lowers the price point on the graph. It doesn’t matter if it takes a while to make a difference; if we don’t add supply we will only face higher prices down the, ahem, road as the developing world continues to increase their usage.
Continuing to drill for oil is not the solution to the energy crisis facing this country. Money should be poured into to finding alternative sources of “clean” power/energy to meet our future needs. I don’t believe there is one solution, and much of the economy will still need to run on oil, but we must find other ways to meet our needs. Continuing to drill for oil is yesterday’s solution.
I think anything we do to show that we can produce our own oil will stop a lot of the speculation and increased pricing from other nations that we are dependent on.
The risks to the environment and the forestalling of the urgent need to move to a non-carbon-based economy are not worth it, even if drilling off the coast would make a difference.
It’s really not going to help that much on its own. Drilling should be allowed everywhere off the U.S. coast and in Alaska to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil while we develop other energy alternatives.
In the long term, sure, it would help. But only in the long term. And only a little bit. Why risk the coastline – hurting not just the environment but the long-term economy – for short-lived, de minimis gains?
Even Bush states that we are oil addicts. We want an easier answer with no pain. Sorry, folks, we should have thought about that 30 years ago but we chose our materialistic, greedy lifestyle over a long-term energy solution. We still have a chance but it is to move forward with a “Manhattan” like project to build electric motors for our cars and nuclear plants for our major power source.

To vote on this week’s poll, which asks about curfews for teenagers at local malls in light of last week’s fight at Triangle Town Center, click here.

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