David Banks column: We can be optimistic about America’s energy security

he outcry over potential oil and gas exploration in untapped areas of the Outer Continental Shelf — from the Atlantic to the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific and Arctic — has cast much-needed focus on America’s energy needs and uses. The future of oil and natural gas in our economy, their essential role in national security, and their contribution to the betterment of peoples around the world call for policies based on reason and reality, not vague arguments and political calculations about switching to renewable energy sources.

After the Trump administration as part of its America-First Offshore Energy Strategy announced the draft plan to permit energy exploration in federal waters, Gov. Ralph Northam, along with the governors of every other Atlantic state from New York to Florida — and those of California, Oregon, and Washington state — denounced it. The government estimates there to be 90 billion barrels of oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of gas awaiting discovery on the OCS.

 Many of their objections are vague or unsupported: Offshore drilling is unsafe. It conflicts with coastal tourism. It runs counter to efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. In Virginia’s case, Northam based his opposition among other things on yet unknown — if any — impacts on clams and oysters, and the fact that it isn’t known how much money the commonwealth might receive from royalties…
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