Essay - Effects of Offshore Oil Drilling on Marine Life and Habitat...

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Effects of *****fshore oil drilling on marine life and habitat

An energy hungry world is looking to a number of alternative energy sources, including nuclear, wind and solar power. While the experts may not agree on which approach is the best for ***** future, virtually everyone agrees that petroleum will remain the fuel ***** choice for many industries and consumers around the world because of ***** enormous investments in this source to date. In ***** environment, it is reasonable ***** assume ***** offshore oil drilling will continue to provide th***** important source of ***** for *****e nation in the *****, but ***** everyone is of the same m*****d concerning the *****al impact that such operations entail. Indeed, some environmentalists want all offshore oil drilling to cease because of a less-than-stellar safety track record by the oil industry, while others suggest that these drilling platforms provide valuable habitat for marine ***** during and after the completion of their operations. To sort the wheat from the chaff, this paper provides a review of ***** relevant literature to identify the primary effects of *****fshore oil drilling on marine life and habitat, followed ***** a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

Locating, installing and operating a successful offshore oil drilling plat*****m is a daunting engineering enterprise by any measure (Cable & Smith, 2006), and Mother Nature always represents a major unknown in the process. According to Morrow (1975), "Offshore drilling got its start after World War II. Americans drilled ***** first well out of sight of land in the Gulf of Mexico in 1948. By the 1950s the American petroleum industry had gained its sea legs in the Gulf; the assault on the world's offshore reserves began" (p. 34). This ***** was not with***** adverse *****cident, either. For example, in January 1969, Union Oil, ***** pursuant to an exploration lease from the United States, *****ed drilling an explora*****ry hole below the ocean surface off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, ultimately hitting a high-pressure oil pocket resulting in an explosion at the site th***** caused "congealing into a chocolate mousse mat a foot thick" (Rothbach, 2007, p. 283). This disaster hel*****ed to fuel the enactment ***** the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) ********** subsequent legislation placed ***** drilling activities squarely under the purview of the U.S. federal government and the planning for such ***** is currently regarded as a major ***** action that require environmental protection statements ***** ongoing oversight (Rothbach). The move to exploit coastal oil reserves is ***** limited to the ***** States, of course, and many countries have expanded *****ir previous coastal ***** explorations efforts ***** offshore areas in recent years as well (Falola & Genova, 2005; Rauber, 2001).

*****, a wide range of ***** initiatives are underway that are intended to promote a he*****lthier ecosystem in the nation's co*****tal regions, ***** scuttling dilapidated ships and even using large buildings as artificial reefs. One of the more interesting dilemmas facing proponents of


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