News of BP PLC's (NYSE ADR: BP) Gulf Coast oil spill was only hours old when Money Morning readers first weighed in on the tragedy. The chief concern: U.S. taxpayers will yet again be stuck with the tab for a problem caused by corporate malfeasance and lax governmental oversight.
Stricter government regulation could enforce safety shut off valves with remote control operations – a device that could have prevented the current disaster. The hefty $500,000 price tag on the safety control has been a past deterrent, but hard to argue against in the wake of the billion-dollar Gulf spill.
But investors understand that the long haul is what really matters, meaning that there's perhaps a bigger question here than who's at fault, and what will this cleanup cost….
Washington wants to limit U.S. dependence on foreign oil and create jobs, while also protecting natural resources and preventing future spill disasters. But the United States faces a future in which oil prices are likely to soar as thirsty nations compete for dwindling supplies.
Clearly, our leaders in Washington, the U.S. energy sector and U.S. environmental agencies and interests will have much to debate in the months and years to come.
This prompted last week's installment of Money Morning Question of the Week: Is U.S. offshore oil drilling going to disappear – why or why not? How does the industry affect you as an investor, taxpayer and consumer?
Here is a collection of thoughtful reader responses regarding the future of drilling and the oil spill.