Despite Oil Leak, Public Backs Offshore Drilling

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As Congress and the White House look into what caused the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, new polls show most Americans still support more drilling for oil off America's coasts.

In an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, 60 percent said they support more drilling for oil of the U.S. Coast while 34 percent oppose it.

And in an Associated Press poll, 50 percent of people surveyed support more drilling at home but 38 percent oppose it.

Click play for more on the offshore drilling debate with Laura Henderson of the Institute for Energy Research, following Jennifer Wishon's report.

But no matter what the future holds for oil production in the U.S., Gulf Coast residents are in for a long recovery.

At the request of Congress and the White House, British Petroleum released video of the leak that for the first time shows the public images of the toxic mix of oil and natural gas gushing from a broken pipe nearly a mile below the ocean's surface.

More than four million barrels have escaped and thick tar balls continue to wash ashore.

As a deep sea charter boat captain, Eddie Burger can get past fishing bans and keep working, but he has been having a hard time getting his clients to bite.

"The problem now is with all the news reports out there nobody else is calling because they don't think you can go fishing," Burger said.

Docked boats now crowd marinas along the coast as fishermen wait to see what the future holds.

"Their livelihood really depends on what happens in the month May, June and July and so if the estuaries are contaminated, the slick becomes a larger issue and a lot of people in south Louisiana are going to lose their livelihood," said fisherman Michael Vales.

"I have three boats, it's a lot of investment, they're worthless right now," said fisherman Vlaho Mjehovich.

"It never seems to end, it's one thing after another," said fisherman Lanny Lafrance. "All I can do is go home and pray that something good is going to happen.

Even charitable organizations are at a loss. Since the disaster is manmade, much of the relief effort depends on BP.

"This is something that's really not happened before and so we're in the process of working with BP on how to best provide services for the fishermen," said Colleen Bosley, disaster coordinator for Catholic Charities. "We don't have any secure plans at this point."

BP said it will pay any legitimate claims of damages caused by the spill, even though such payments are supposed to be limited by a federal cap of $75 million.

Meanwhile, hearings on Capitol Hill reveal a devastating sequence of equipment failures lead to the blowout.

Despite all of the problems from this spill, though, the public seems to believe "accidents will happen" -- but offshore drilling is still worthwhile.

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Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.