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NH Scientists: Don't Buy the Hype on Drilling

August 14, 2008

Epsom, NH - Don't buy the hype. That's the message from a Granite State scientist about calls for more offshore oil drilling.

A recent Rasmussen poll says 64 percent of Americans support new offshore drilling, and 42 percent call it the "best way to cut oil prices." But Eric Orff, a former New Hampshire state wildlife biologist, worries that the public is being fooled by the high-profile push to drill. In retirement, Orff has turned his attention to energy issues. He says he has heard few reasons to believe that more drilling would actually affect oil prices-–at least, not in the way people think.

"So far, the more they drill, the higher the prices go. So, I don't believe the oil companies, and I don't necessarily believe the politicians who believe in the oil companies. Frankly, most of us don't think they're very trustworthy."

Orff points out an important distinction about his views: he does not oppose drilling anywhere, but he's not a proponent of drilling everywhere.

"I certainly believe in drilling more where there are current leases, but I don’t believe we should depreciate the inheritance of the few areas we've set aside in this country for future generations."

Proponents of increased offshore drilling are convinced that drilling restrictions have increased America's reliance on foreign oil. In Orff's view, however, conservation will be a quicker and more effective way for New Hampshire residents to fight energy costs.

The Rasmussen survey is available online at www.rasmussenreports.com.

John Robinson/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - NH