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Submitted by WWAY on Thu, 06/19/2008 - 4:19pm.

With the price of gas at an all time high, people are looking to Washington for a solution. In the U.S. alone, we consume nearly 21 million barrels of oil in a given day. To help alleviate the problem, President Bush has proposed lifting the offshore drilling ban for oil and natural gas. North Carolina is one of the states against lifting the offshore drilling ban. The state is worried that drilling offshore will hurt tourism on the Carolina coast. The beautiful Carolina coast is a sought after treasure by tourists all over the country. According to some, that could all change. UNCW Environmental Science Professor Roger Shew said, "Up there it is pristine. There is a lot of beauty in the area, however, in areas adjacent to that, you've got to go in and find out how much is there, and is it even beneficial to go out and prospect." President Bush has proposed to congress that the oil drilling ban be lifted off our coasts. Some want the drilling to start right away, and begin bringing those gas numbers down. Environmentalists are concerned about oil spills and pollution. Harry Simmons is Mayor of Caswell Beach, and while the town itself hasn't discussed any plans to drill offshore, he has thought about it. Simmons said, "We certainly don't want to see them do it without a major effort on environmental impact and what kind of impact it might have on the tourism industry here in Southeastern North Carolina, or anywhere on the Carolina coast." The federal waters start about three miles offshore. If you are standing at Caswell Beach, and look northeast, you can see Bald Head Island in the distance. It is about three miles offshore. "We surely don't want to see oil derricks off the shore, anything that needs to be done here needs to be out of sight," said Simmons. "You can have tanker spills anywhere. The question is, do you want to have that be seen offshore?" But for professor roger shew offshore drilling is not the only answer. "This is a large, potential source of oil. It's oil shale, and it's available in the western part of the U.S. Before we can get it to the crude oil form we need it in, it will pose a few environmental issues like using a lot of water, and strip mining." Whether North Carolina is for or against offshore drilling, it all boils down to utilizing the resources we have right here in the Unites States.

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