In 1981, the United States Congress began a process of imposing moratoriums on oil and gas developments in what now accounts for 85% of the countries territorial waters. The restrictions have been renewed annually through appropriations within the Department of Interior (DOI), which maintains authority over the outer continental shelf (OCS).

As of September 8, the renewal of the ban is 22 days away. Pundits on both sides of the issue are calling for action. Those against the ban claim that opening more OCS in the U.S. for drilling and exploration is “no quick fix” for motorists at the pump while those in favor of the measure say that more offshore domestic drilling is crucial to alleviating U.S. dependence on imported resources. Most of us realize that the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

As far as the pundits are concerned – they’re both right. Lifting the ban against offshore exploration and development in the U.S. is not a quick fix, and it will decrease the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. Are their additional benefits?

The conversation so far talks mainly about “big oil” and the “environment,” but what are the social benefits of increasing oil and gas explorations? Increased exploration activity doesn’t result in only more oil.

Increased drilling and exploration projects mean more jobs. Ports and shipyards become integral hubs of activity. Shipping, manufacturing, and service related jobs are created to meet the need. There’s no room for short sided thinking, which is what politicians and activists bring to the table.

All things must be considered to make the best possible move forward. U.S. consumers are not just addicted to oil, their also addicted to healthcare, addicted to mortgages, addicted to a high standard of living. It takes jobs to feed the jones.

For or against

Visit the Institute for Energy Research’s online initiative to voice your opinion on the issue:

, or visit this site to support the renewal of the offshore ban:

Either choice is acceptable as long as you’ve considered the ramifications.