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Offshore drilling is safe and would create nearly a million new jobs

The co-chairs of the Presidential Oil Spill Commission recently said that offshore drilling is safer than it was at the time of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico incident because industry and the government have worked together to improve spill prevention and response, implement new rules, and foster a strong culture of safety within the industry ("Offshore drilling: All risk, no reward," April 1).

We're the only developed nation in the world that keeps 87 percent of its offshore energy resources off limits, and it's costing the nation significant economic growth and advances in energy security. In every state directly involved — from Virginia to Florida — majorities of voters support moving forward.

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Holding just one Atlantic lease sale six years from now, as the Obama administration has proposed, represents the bare minimum. But at least it's a start. Promising areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific remain off limits.

Opening all three areas for offshore development could create nearly 840,000 new American jobs, grow our economy by up to $70.2 billion per year, raise over $200 billion in cumulative revenue for the government and lead to oil and natural gas production of more than 6.8 billion barrels of oil equivalent between 2017 and 2035, according to studies from Quest Offshore Resources.

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It's past time the Atlantic states take advantage of the job creation and economic growth opportunities available through safe and responsible development of our offshore resources.

Erik Milito, Washington

The writer is director of upstream and industry operations for the American Petroleum Institute.

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