Although the environmentalists oppose oil production, the environmental cost is so limited by current regulations that it is small compared to the vast benefits. Of course, producing nothing anywhere in the US and consumers consuming less would dramatically lower environmental costs also, but few are willing to pay such a great price! We are letting the tail wag the dog - at a huge, huge cost to all Americans of 100's of billions of dollars.
With regard to "climate warming" effects, an equal amount of oil produced in foreign lands will produce an equal effect (or higher, assuming they have less regulation) to our producing it here - meaning there is no increased effect on climate warming. (See Climate Warming)
THE BENEFITS of drilling more here are:
1. Lots of jobs added here in US (currently we are supporting jobs overseas when we buy oil or anything from foreign sources).
2. A secure oil supply. We will no longer be dependent on other countries, many of which have acted or talked as if we are the enemy. This would also reduce the upward price effects of speculators, since we would have a predictable future supply the minute we truly commit to production.
3. This would stop our trade balance of payments problem. We import more than we export - and this would help bring those payments to others back into balance with foreign payments to us, so that the dollar is not further devalued. A loss of purchasing power of the US dollars hurts the standard of living in the US, by raising the cost of goods as our dollar declines in value.
4. The royalties for oil produced on federal lands plus additional income taxes produced would help balance our budget.
5. A portion of royalties paid for research and development in alternative sources of energy would then reduce our need for fossil fuels - and, at some point, 10 to 15 years from now, provide a cheaper source of energy.
6. Slightly lower climate warming effects than producing overseas.
Environmental costs - Producing anything anywhere in the US has an environmental impact, but not producing here has a huge economic impact. We can use a portion of the dollars added in order to offset any environmental impact.
A VERY POOR DECISION
Everything has tradeoffs. It is up to the decisionmakers to balance off the benefits versus the costs.
A very poor decision to be prejudiced against oil production is current in place, where the decisions are focused just on the costs without considering the overall picture in total.
In my opinion, we can no longer afford to allow such poor decision-making. I do not know if it is political considerations that are ruling the roost here, but I do know that the American people are being hurt here. I also am certain that the American people have not been provided with sufficient detail and explanation to make a good decision - and pandering to un-informed viewpoints is not, in my opinion, ethical, though it can win elections.
What is your choice? What is logical?
BUT WHAT ABOUT ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES?
Reasonable predictions, no matter how hard we push and hope now, put alternative energy sources as being uneconomic, by a large margin, for years to come. Forcing ourselves to pay higher prices for energy has a huge human cost - it would lower our standard of living and impede our growth, causing a further negative impact. Certainly it is easy to understand that if we each have to pay out more for our costs of energy that must take away what else we could spend on other needs and/or even exacerbate our debt.
If we are "ideologues" about alternative energy sources and how we must be "good" about all of this, then we are cutting off our noses to spite our faces - i.e. damaging ourselves by going for an ideal, but impractical, idea (or ideology). Not making rational decisions in this area is costing us dearly, not only directly but in terms of growth of the economy.