First of all, there is no "ban".
"Ban" is just more GOPer-speak. In reality, there is a moratorium on drilling in certain coastal areas. Other areas are not only open to drilling but leases and drilling permits have already been issued.
And they are not being drilled.
In fact, only 17% of the leased areas [are] in production. So, with about 33 million acres of offshore areas already available to drill and not being drilled, why does the oil and gas industry need to have access to still more? The fact is that nearly 25 BILLION barrels of oil off the coast of the United States is currently available for drilling...and industry is not drilling it.
Not to mention natural gas. Most of the natural gas occurring offshore (over 328 TRILLION cubic feet – an eleven year supply at current consumption rates) is currently available for leasing and development.
And they’re not going after it.
This is the story throughout the country, more than 44 million acres of onshore public lands are leased for oil and gas development and yet most of it is not being drilled. All told (onshore and offshore), 68 million acres are leased and sitting idle. Over 10,000 permits are currently 'stockpiled' by industry. But still they want more.
Between 1999 and 2007, the number of drilling permits issued for development of public lands increased by more than 361%. And did you see your gasoline costs drop? How about your electricity costs? Propane? natural gas? Uh...no. There is absolutely no correlation between the industrialization of public lands and the price of fossil fuels.
It has been estimated that if all of those currently inactive leases were drilled, the USA would produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas EVERY DAY, accounting for a doubling of US oil production and a 75% increase in US natural gas production. The Minerals Management Service tells us that about 80% of fossil fuels available in offshore are currently available for development.
What's going on here is yet another cynical attempt by the GOP and the oil and gas robber barons to increase and assure huge industry profits at the expense of the American people. These companies don’t want to drill these areas. They want to hold them as [assets] to limit the amount of oil and gas on the market so that prices rise still further - and they make more money.
Republicans and the oil industry are lying to America out the ying yang on this. Surprised? I didn't think so...