Privatize the Ocean?

With the devastating spill of oil in the Gulf, this post from <em>The National Review</em> suggests taking control over off-shore drilling out of the hands of government and putting it into the hands of private interests.
June 14, 2010, 6am PDT | Nate Berg
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Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute says private interests would be able to do more to protect the oceans from similar spills -- and even do better at preventing them.

"We need to move away from the crony corporatism that has characterized much of the nation's energy sector during the last century or so. It would be foolish to promise that market-based reforms would prevent another disaster, but they would be more effective than yet more meaningless bureaucracy. There are several reasons for this.

First, the existing government regulations have been counterproductive. They pushed energy companies offshore - miles and miles offshore. America is a resource-rich country, and unlike other resource-rich countries, we have locked up most of our resources so we can't use them. While the Gulf of Mexico holds about 44 billion barrels of oil in undiscovered reserves, according to Minerals Management Service (MMS) estimates, the continental U.S. has slightly more onshore. The difference is that we are allowed to explore and extract the offshore reserves, while it is extremely difficult to get permission to do the same on land. As a result, most exploration takes place offshore, where the consequences of a spill are so much greater."

Thanks to Grist

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Published on Monday, June 7, 2010 in The National Review
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