Savin' Up for A Drainy Day?
Once upon a time, back before America was taken hostage by the BFEE/PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse, American oil companies actually used to drill for oil on this continent. Due to lots of reasons, some political and some economic, this drilling 'dried' up. One of the economic excuses offered up was that many of these leases were becoming too expensive to operate - but we'll start to drill if they ever become economically viable again!
I'm hardly the world's authority on economics (or else where would I find the time to donate my literary services to a political/currernt events blog?), but it seems to me that the costs of dragging drilling and pumping equipment halfway around the world, added to the costs of the local customary gift-giving (or as they so quaintly put it, baksheesh), added to the costs of maintaining expensive technical staff on site, ...
As the late, great Senator Everett Dirksen once said, pretty soon you're talking real money. Thus, domestic oil leases have to be within range of being cost-effective considering current prices.
As to the environmental restriction excuse, the BFEE/PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse's environmental restriction motto is:
Restrictions? We got no restrictions! WE DOAN' NEED NO STINKIN' RESTRICTIONS!
And so the oilmen would happy drill away ever after - or at least until the election.
So there has to be another reason why these local leases aren't being drilled at this time - and I'm sure the feeling is that prices are only going to go higher from now on.