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

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Effects of offshore 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 the future, virtually every*****e agrees that petroleum will remain the fuel ***** choice ***** many industries and consumers around ***** ***** because of the enormous investments in this source to date. In this environment, it is reasonable to assume ***** offshore ***** drilling will continue to provide th***** important source of ***** for ***** nation in the future, but not everyone is of the same mind concerning the environmental impact that such operations entail. Indeed, some environmentalists want all offshore oil drilling ***** cease ***** of a less-than-stellar safety track record by ***** oil industry, while others suggest that these ***** platforms provide valuable ***** for marine life during and after the completion ***** their operations. To sort the wheat from the chaff, this paper provides a review of the relevant literature to identify the primary effects of offshore ***** drilling on marine life ***** 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 the 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 without adverse *****cident, either. For example, in January 1969, Union Oil, ***** pursuant to an exploration lease from the United States, started drilling an exploratory hole below the oce***** surface off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, ultimately hitting a high-pressure oil pocket resulting in an explosion at ***** site that caused "congealing into a chocolate mousse mat a foot thick" (Rothbach, 2007, p. 283). This disaster hel*****ed to fuel the enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) *****d subsequent legislation placed offshore drilling activities squarely under the purview of the U.S. federal government and the planning for such ***** is currently regarded as a major federal action that require environmental protection statements ***** ongoing oversight (*****). The move to exploit coastal ***** reserves ***** not limited to the ***** States, of course, and many countries have expanded ********** previous coastal oil explorations efforts into offshore areas in recent years as well (Falola & Genova, 2005; Rauber, 2001).

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


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