Sixty-seven percent of voters nationwide support offshore drilling for domestic oil and natural gas resources, according to a new poll conducted by Harris Interactive for the American Petroleum Institute's ( API’s) “What America is Thinking on Energy Issues” series. This support bridged party lines, with clear majorities of Republicans (79 percent), Democrats (57 percent) and Independents (67 percent) all supporting offshore drilling.
“Americans get it: domestic oil and natural gas development is a key driver for new jobs, economic growth and energy security,” said Erik Milito, director of upstream and industry operations for API. “Our country is now firmly positioned as an energy superpower, and most Americans want our nation to seize opportunities to build upon that status.”
Four state-specific polls showed similar levels of support for offshore oil and natural gas development in Virginia (67 percent), North Carolina (65 percent), South Carolina (77 percent) and Florida (64 percent). Nationwide, 90 percent of voters say producing more oil and natural gas here at home is important. Increasing domestic oil and natural gas production is also important to 88 percent of Virginians, 89 percent of North Carolinians, 91 percent of South Carolinians, and 87 percent of Floridians.
“Americans are eager to put more of our offshore energy resources to work,” said Milito. “If exploration and development is allowed to safely expand to new areas, domestic oil and natural gas could provide more energy, jobs and government revenue than ever before.”
The Obama administration will soon begin work on its next five-year offshore leasing plan, in which areas of the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico could be included for oil and natural gas leasing. Early next year, the administration is also expected to decide whether to permit seismic surveys in the Atlantic from Delaware to northern Florida for the first time in 30 years.
Seismic surveys, which have been used safely around the world for decades, are the most accurate method available to prospect for oil and natural gas reserves offshore apart from drilling. More accurate survey data makes offshore energy production safer and more efficient by reducing its environmental footprint. Technological advances and data collection improvements since seismic surveys were last conducted in the U.S. Atlantic OCS have rendered old resource estimates obsolete.
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