So my answer? Regulate the hell out of the industry, and rigorously enforce those regulations.
It would be nice if we could unilaterally end offshore oil drilling. Nobody likes to see the oily bird carcasses washing up on beaches, nor the plaintive looks in the eyes of suddenly idled Louisiana fishermen. The widespread damage being done right now in the Gulf of Mexico should be intolerable.
But we will tolerate it. We have to. America's energy demands are simply too great to give it up - our politicians are not going to ask us to sacrifice our comfortable lifestyles; we won't let them in any case - and the country isn't anywhere close to ready to switch over to "alternative" energy sources like wind and solar to pick up the slack.
If some environmentalists are ready to declare a moratorium without ready alternatives, however, drilling enthusiasts can be much too cavalier about the safety of offshore drilling. Large-scale energy production of any sort is almost always a complicated and dangerous proposition, whether at Chernobyl or in the Atlantic Ocean. Disasters - the devastation of whole swaths of the planet - are inevitable. So regulations on drilling should be tight, and rigorously enforced.
That hasn't been the case. The New York Times reported that the federal government gave permission to dozens of oil companies - including BP - to drill offshore even though they hadn't completed "required" environmental reviews. That's inexcusable.
We rely on oil energy because, for now, we have to. However, that's no reason to let the oil companies essentially regulate themselves. Getting rigorous about the rules and their enforcement will probably make energy a little more expensive for all of us, but the cost will be necessary. Our own ability to survive on the planet depends upon it.