Rising gasoline prices fueled calls for the federal government to lift restrictions on offshore oil drilling on the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Over the years, Congress, the White House and many policy analysts have debated the pros and cons of offshore drilling as part of a larger discussion on U.S. energy policy.
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Pro: More Domestic Production
More offshore drilling will lead to greater domestic oil production and less reliance on imported oil, much of which comes from politically unstable regions, such as the Middle East.
Pro: Lower Pump Prices
Offshore drilling will increase the supply of oil, resulting in lower gasoline prices, according
Pro: Increased Government Revenues
Supporters of offshore drilling say that opening restricted areas to offshore oil production will generate billions in state and federal revenues through royalties.
Con: Minimal Price Impact
Opponents say the additional oil generated through expanded offshore drilling will not be enough to greatly affect world oil prices.
Con: Carbon Emissions
Expanded offshore drilling will not reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, which contributes to warmer global temperatures.
Con: Environmental Hazards
A 1969 accident that spilled millions of gallons of oil off the California coast led to restrictions on offshore drilling. Increased drilling makes such accidents more likely to occur.