Over the last 27 years I haven't given much thought to the Minerals Management Service, but today it floods our headlines — and not in a good way. Recently MMS has failed to regulate and properly oversee rigs off of our coast. British Petroleum has rigs worldwide with the necessary safety devices that would have prevented the recent explosion in the Gulf Coast. Ironically, only in the U.S. were these safety devices not installed, which would have without doubt prevented this explosion. The acoustic equipment that would have prevented this nightmare would have cost BP less than a half-million dollars.

The $500,000 savings will now cost BP and U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars to rectify this crisis, if there's a remedy. The impact is environmental and economic and, because of the chemical toxins used to contain this spill, will have a deadly impact on our food chain from the Gulf Coast region.

There is now an outcry in Washington and in coastal states to halt new offshore leasing and break up the Minerals Management Service. The U.S. economy needs offshore drilling. Approximately 25 percent of our domestic oil consumption comes from the Gulf Coast, most of which is off the Louisiana coast. Listen up: This would only further devastate the already woeful economic downturn of our economy.

Thirty years ago the nuclear plant Three Mile Island melted down; we have not issued a permit for a nuclear facility since that disaster. Many are prayerful that this will not become the fate of offshore drilling.