Keep the moratorium on drilling indefinitely

Editorial Board

Creating jobs has to be the biggest priority for the Obama administration.

In Ohio, where whole cities have shriveled with the decline of industry, we know what it means to lose jobs.

But when does creating, or simply keeping, jobs now take a back seat to other, greater issues?

That’s the question stakeholders are grappling with in the Gulf of Mexico, where President Barack Obama’s moratorium on oil drilling is crippling that coastal industry and the support industries that rely on it.

Just last week, another explosion on a rig not included in the moratorium, gave us all the evidence we need to support Obama’s decision. This one, also in the Gulf of Mexico, was hundreds of miles west of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that killed 11 workers. It resulted in no loss of life and didn’t release anywhere near the amount of oil that leaked in the BP spill.

We got lucky.

This kind of drilling is dangerous. Eleven people died in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Sixty-nine people have died in the Gulf of Mexico alone since 2001, according to the federally regulated Minerals Management Service.

Such practices are not sustainable, especially in an environmental sense.

Fallout from oil spills aside, non-renewable energy is, by definition, unsustainable. These explosions are our cue to begin investing heavily in better energy practices.

There’s a whole new wave of job creation that is going to spring out of the rising renewable energy industry, but it has to happen first. We need to see it as a priority.

In the last several months, we’ve seen images of explosions and dead pelicans. The potential exists for safer, cleaner energy sources if there’s a widespread shift in public opinion and incentives for companies to retool their efforts toward more sustainable ventures.

Youngstown and Cleveland dissolved because they didn’t change with the shift to a service-based economy. We don’t want to miss the boat again.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board