Our Views: A new look for Atlantic

Given that we just marked the fourth anniversary of the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s maybe not the best time to be talking about expanding offshore oil and gas development.

But it is a step forward for energy independence that the United States is going to have to take, sooner or later.

Four years ago, even the ostentatiously “green” Obama administration was looking favorably on the idea of Atlantic exploration and drilling. Political opposition was moderating on the East Coast.

Then, the BP well’s spill set everything back.

Yet with all that, and the consequent improvements in safety mandated after the BP spill, drilling advocates see hope for Atlantic ventures.

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., told the Press Club of Baton Rouge that she plans to push for Atlantic surveying through her new role heading the Senate’s Energy Committee.

Expanding drilling will produce more jobs, she said, and governors of several coastal states are willing to look afresh at the idea — so long as the states are assured of revenue sharing from the new activity.

All this is a part of what Landrieu rightly calls an “energy renaissance” in America, onshore and off.

“This energy renaissance means a lot more than just here, even if we are in the heart of it,” Landrieu said. “It has impacts worldwide.”

The Louisiana delegation in Congress should remain in the forefront of both environmentally responsible drilling and fairer revenue sharing for coastal states.