Just as we suspected, “there is no credible evidence that expanded oil and natural gas exploration and development in the Eastern Gulf would adversely affect military missions in that area.”

Such was the conclusion reached in a paper released yesterday by Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE), with an analysis of the potential impact of expanded oil and natural gas exploration in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico on military activities, including training and weapons testing.

The paper, “Eastern Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Exploration and Military Readiness,” was produced in collaboration with Commonwealth Consulting Corp., led by Col. Martin Sullivan, USMC (Ret.)

SAFE and its Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC) conducted a media conference call when they released the report.

Based on the US Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) mean estimates, the Eastern Gulf contains 3.9 billion bbls of oil and 21.5 tcf of natural gas. A confirmed discovery in Destin Dome contains enough natural gas to supply 1 million households for 30 years. General Charles F. Wald, USAF (Ret.), former Deputy Commander, United States European Command, said. "If expanded energy production in the Gulf put our armed forces or our nation's readiness in danger, we would never support it. But this report makes clear that there is no conflict in the overwhelming majority of cases. We can improve our energy security and remain at peak military readiness at the same time." Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the report “shows that it is possible to expand production in the Outer Continental Shelf without compromising our need for military training and readiness." "Allowing oil production in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico is included in the comprehensive energy legislation that has already passed out of the Senate Energy Committee in a bipartisan fashion," added Dorgan. "We need to finish the job by passing an energy bill this year. It is time for Democrats and Republicans alike to come together and act to strengthen our nation's energy security."

So let’s get drilling.