"If you see an environmentalist, give him a good smack in the kisser for this BP tragedy."
The argument, then, goes something like this:
- Environmentalists don't want oil companies to drill in ANWR, so they have to drill in the deep ocean.
- If they were allowed to drill in ANWR, they could cap an oil leak like this in minutes.
- Environmentalists also apparently don't want oil companies to drill in shallow waters, where they can also cap accidents like this easily. Environmentalists are - somehow - forcing oil companies to drill in these deep-water wells, where they don't know what they're doing - hence the BP disaster.
- There are actually ~4,000 active drilling sites in US waters. Only 25 of those are active deep water wells. Production has been stopped in 33 such wells by Obama, which includes some that were set to go online. Point? Deep water wells are a small percentage of active offshore drilling sites. You can see the exact breakdown here. The 4,000 number is from NOAA, here.
- As of 2004, the costs of deep-water oil and gas development have fallen by a factor of three over the 15 years previous to 2004, making it more profitable for oil companies to pursue these wells. These are typically the less profitable of their wells, so some companies, as they invest in alternative fuels, lose their incentive to pursue new deep-water rigs. The government or environmentalists have nothing to do with the equation. This is oil looking for new revenue streams, and deep-water has become easier to obtain.