A year after the disastrous BP oil spill pumped 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, new offshore drilling has begun.
In the past few months, 11 new deep-water and 49 shallow-water permits have been issued, says CNN. This is far fewer than average, but it's a pickup from the months after the spill, when offshore drilling was temporarily halted.
The United States depends heavily on offshore drilling, says our guest Dan Dicker, who is a floor trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange. And given the latest spike in oil prices, the resumption of drilling--and the eventual promise of new supply of oil--is obviously good news.
The reason offshore oil drilling was temporarily banned was that the country decided it was too risky--a perception brought home by 24-hour video of billowing clouds of oil spewing out of the BP well last year. In the year since, the government has begun to tighten regulation. But Dicker observes that, as with any energy source, it's impossible to eliminate the risk entirely.
Of course, the potential risks seem a lot more worrisome in the middle of a disaster than when everything's operating smoothly. So it's no surprise that, with oil at nearly $110 a barrel and the BP spill becoming a distant memory, the majority of Americans now favor offshore drilling.