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Blast no call to stop drilling

While another tragedy was averted, the recent explosion aboardan oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico cannot be used as a rallyingcry to stop drilling activity in the area.

Environmental groups and some lawmakers, however, were doing justthe day after the Sept. 2 event by urging the Obama administrationto extend a temporary ban on deepwater drilling to shallowwater.

“How many accidents are needed and how much environmental andeconomic damage must we suffer before we act to contain and controlthe source of the danger: offshore drilling?” said U.S. Rep. FrankPallone, a New Jersey Democrat, in an Associated Pressreport.

The moratorium calls, of course, come in the wake of the AprilDeepwater Horizon explosion that resulted in the largest oil spillin the history of the U.S. Eleven workers lost their lives andmillions of gallons of oil contaminated Gulf waters.

The recent platform blast was vastly different. Responding with adrilling moratorium extension would be a hugely unfortunateoverreaction.

Thousands of jobs – and the economic impact they provide – dependon drilling activities. Also, about one-third of the country’sdomestic oil production comes through Gulf platforms.

Working to ensure safety and preventing future drilling-relateddisasters is justifiable. Stopping drilling because of isolatedincidents is not.