The ever-growing oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico may threaten more than the environment. It will make it significantly harder to open up more coastal areas for oil drilling.
The Gulf oil slick moved within 16 miles of the Mississippi River Delta on Thursday, placing residents from Louisiana to Florida on alert against the possibility of oily beaches, closed harbors and a decimated fishing catch. That makes President Obama's plan to increase offshore oil drilling a much harder sell.
Such drilling is "clearly not clean enough, after what we saw today," Florida's Independent Governor, Charlie Crist - a former drilling proponent - told the Miami Herald Wednesday after flying over the slick. "That's horrific, and it certainly isn't safe enough. It's the opposite of safe."
Lawmakers from Maryland, Virginia, Rhode Island and Delaware have also expressed concern over offshore drilling following the Gulf disaster.
"The tide has shifted as a result of this spill," said Kevin Book, a managing director at the research firm ClearView Energy Partners. "It will be much harder to open up any new areas."