Off-Shore Oil Drilling Ban Lifted
President Bush says offshore drilling would ease gasoline prices over the long-haul.
Both Democrat Senator Bill Nelson and Republican Senator Mel Martinez oppose the president's lifting of the ban. A congressional moratorium on drilling makes Bush's move, at least for now, meaningless.
If the congressional moratorium was lifted like President Bush has asked, more platforms could come closer to Florida shores. However, UF Geology Professor John Jaeger says things may not change like some may think.
"But, the sites that have the highest potential for large petroleum reserves are over 100 miles off the coast, and those would the be sites that they would target first," said Jaeger.
Jaeger says nine exploratory drill wells in the Atlantic and around the Florida Keys found zero oil back in the 1970s.
"And there are very few places in Florida where they have explored for the right types of rocks and most of them are out in the far western part of the Florida peninsula, out in the Gulf of Mexico," said Jaeger.
The US Department of the Interior has periodically sold oil and natural gas companies leases of areas in the Gulf of Mexico for drilling. One bid earlier this year attracted nearly four billion dollars in bids. But, it's a long process to see any relief at the pump. Jaeger says this lease sale from 2001 still doesn't have any producing oil.
"You're talking at least ten years before there really hotly sought after sites really might end up being drilled," said Jaeger.
The ban President Bush lifted had been put in place by his father in 1990. The congressional moratorium has been in place since 1981. In addition, two years ago, Congress passed a law protecting the eastern Gulf of Mexico until 2022.
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