A trillion-dollar missed opportunity – enough to pay U.S. deficit

On the heels of the Administration’s recent decision to place a de facto moratorium on offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, we asked readers of today’s Wall Street Journal if they knew how much that decision might cost in terms of lost government revenue.

According to a study by ICF International, expanding domestic energy development in America’s offshore areas could alone generate $1.3 trillion in government revenues over the life of the resource – along with major increases in jobs and economic activity that result from offshore development.

To put this figure in perspective, consider the following numbers:

  • In 2010, the U.S. federal budget deficit was $1.3 trillion.
  • The total U.S. national debt currently stands at about $13.8 trillion.
  • The U.S. oil and natural gas industry contributes more than $1 trillion a year to the U.S. economy.

As I indicated in my commentary on Wednesday about the moratorium, this decision is a real missed opportunity to spur economic growth, create more jobs and strengthen U.S. energy security. You can read more in last week’s post: DOI’s offshore plan: a missed economic opportunity that also weakens U.S. energy security.


  • Worth a deeper look...