May 5, 2010 6:55 PM

Despite disaster, U.S. has little choice but to drill offshore

If the oil spill off the Louisiana coast leads to a federal ban on ultra-deepwater drilling and production it could cripple an increasingly important source of America's domestic oil supply. Conventional U.S. oil production has been in decline since the 1970s, and near-shore production along the Gulf Coast peaked in 1997.

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