An Aug. 18 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal compared President Barack Obama's handling of the BP Macondo oil spill to that of Richard Nixon's reaction to the 1969 spill offshore Santa Barbara. In the editorial, Alex Epstein said that former president Nixon's reaction to the spill offshore California ultimately led to the country's energy crisis in 1973 and has lasting impact to this day. At the time, the U.S. was preparing to open up Prudhoe Bay offshore Alaska, which was expected to add 1.5 million barrels per day to U.S. production. However, following the California spill, Nixon reacted by punishing oil producers, reducing offshore drilling and tainting the procedure for decades to come. Nixon signed a moratorium on offshore drilling, created government agencies that allowed environmentalist to oppose drilling in "environmentally sensitive" areas and left the U.S. more dependent on foreign producers. OPEC eventually used its clout to increase its political influence throughout the world. It was only after people had to wait in line up to two hours for gasoline following the 1973 embargo that Nixon finally caved in, allowing the Alaska pipeline, but that oil unfortunately did not come to market until 1977. Starting to sound a little familiar? The Obama administration, taking a page from Tricky Dick's playbook, has ramped up government oversight, put the deepwater Gulf on standstill until November and has given the anti-drilling crowd political capital to further demonize the industry. No one's saying that actions didn't need to be taken. A short-term moratorium, while hurtful, might not have been out of question during either the 1969 spill of the more recent one. And of course the government has the right to inspect things once crude oil starts interfering with your surfing competitions. But Obama should take a page from history and learn just what happens when you allow short-term environmental disasters to cause longer-term ones on the economy.