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Offshore drilling makes waves

August 21, 2008

Re "Allow offshore drilling," Column, Aug. 18

Columnist George Skelton seems to be basking in the good old days in his support for increased offshore drilling. Unfortunately, the data don't support his view.

Over 80% of the available offshore deposits are in areas currently open for leasing.

The number of new offshore drilling permits has tripled during the Bush administration, yet we're also paying triple what we were in 2001 for gasoline. In the last two years, domestic production has increased at four times the rate of consumption, yet prices skyrocketed.

The fact is that the U.S., with only 3% of the world's oil deposits, cannot drill its way out of its dependence on foreign oil.

Instead of more of the same, we need new alternatives. We need cars that go farther on a gallon of gas and, in the long term, cars that don't need gas at all. We need a transportation policy that gives us more convenient options to go about our daily lives.

We need to dramatically increase the energy we produce using the wind and the sun, deliver more of it to our homes using a smarter grid and slash our energy use -- and energy bills -- by making our appliances, homes, schools, factories and offices more efficient.

We need to invest in our future, not our past -- it's the 21st century! The day of the dinosaur is over.

Jennifer Clary

Policy Analyst

Clean Water Action

San Francisco

Skelton reminisces about times past, when tar seeped up through the sand and the California oil boom of the 1920s brought a migration of East Coast farmers to work in the oil fields.

Those days are gone forever. Although oil remains in the ground beneath California, drilling today, as Skelton admits, could take 10 years or more to make it to our gas pumps. But who says it will benefit California drivers? Oil companies sell to the highest bidder, just like any other business. Before we allow any drilling in California's coastal waters, we need an ironclad guarantee that the oil will remain in California.

R. Scott

Huntington Beach

Skelton's commentary on allowing offshore drilling was right on the mark. However, he forgot to mention one important area of drilling that would bring much-needed money to the city of Los Angeles as well as to the state of California.

The city of Los Angeles should allow drilling for oil in Pacific Palisades. This drilling ban was bought and paid for by a few rich residents of Pacific Palisades who did not want to see an oil well in their neighborhood, to the detriment of the rest of Los Angeles.

At a time when the Police Department cannot afford to do DNA testing and the state is in a fiscal mess, if oil companies were allowed to drill, both the city of Los Angeles and the state of California could reap millions.

Charles G. Appleby

Rancho Cucamonga

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