A U.S. Energy Department advisory council says the U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future.
The study released Friday says that in order for the U.S. to keep domestic production high and imports low, oil companies should start probing the Artic now because it takes decades of preparation and drilling to bring oil to market.
Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is chairman of the study committee and spoke to The Associated Press. He said it will take 20 to 40 years for Artic oil resources to become available.
Environmental advocates say the Arctic ecosystem is too fragile to risk a spill, and cleanup would be difficult or perhaps even impossible because of weather and ice.