Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Virginia's Contribution to American Energy Independence

Following the GOP's enthusiastic embrace of offshore drilling in the last presidential election, the great state of Virginia has aggressively moved to open our coastal waters to oil exploration. With the election of Gov. McDonnell, things were moving vigorously towards Virginia being 1) for lovers and 2) for drilling, baby, drilling. Not that the two are mutually exclusive, nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more. Up until a short while ago, Virginia was leading the nation in plans for gettin' more of the black gold out of the sea.

This was right up until the ongoing fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico. With two hundred thousand gallons of crude pouring daily into the Gulf from an unrepaired and apparently unreparable rig disaster, things have ground to a halt on the drilling front. For some reason, those Virginians who live by the water or make their living on the tourism generated by our beaches...well, they've suddenly realized that oil isn't always neat and tidy and out of sight.

That doesn't mean that Virginia conservatives have set down the mantle of oil exploration. It is, we hear, just as important as before. America needs that oil, if we're going to finally shake ourselves free of our addiction to them furriners and their go-juice. We can't let this little setback shake our resolve to seek new energy for America's future!

What will Virginia's contribution to energy independence be? In an article today about Virginia coastal drilling, there was a little factoid buried amidst the political posturing, one that stuck out. Total potential reserves of oil off the shore of Virginia are now estimated at 130 million barrels. That's a whole bunch of barrels! 130 million reasons to get out there and start burrowing into the sea floor!

This impressive untapped reservoir of Virginian oil will, at current rates of consumption, fuel American cars and drive the American economy for...well...for...um...err...

Six days. Six. More. Days.

Suddenly, drilling seems rather less pressing. Even if supplies are twice what's been projected, they're not going to make a meaningful difference in America's energy future. Funny how that never gets mentioned by the folks who are so eager to have rigs off the coastline of our beautiful state.