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 ***** world because of the enormous investments in this source to date. In this environment, it is reasonable to assume that offshore oil drilling will continue ***** provide this important source of energy for the nation in ***** *****, but not everyone is of the same m*****d concerning ***** environmental impact that such operations entail. Indeed, some environmentalists want all offshore ***** drilling to cease ***** of a less-than-stellar safety track record by the oil industry, while others suggest that these drilling platforms provide valuable ***** for marine ***** during and after the completion ***** their operations. To sort the wheat from the chaff, this paper provides a review of ***** relevant literature to identify the primary effects of *****fshore ***** drilling on marine life and habitat, followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

Locating, installing and operating a successful offshore oil drilling platform is a d*****unting engineering enterprise by any measure (Cable & Smith, 2006), and Mo*****r Nature always represents a m*****jor unknown in the process. According to ********** (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 ***** 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 assault was ***** without adverse *****cident, either. For example, in January 1969, Union Oil, ***** pursuant to an exploration lease from the United States, started drilling an explora*****ry hole below the ocean surface off ***** coast of Santa Barbara, California, ultimately hitting a high-pressure ***** pocket resulting in an explosion at the site that 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) and subsequent legislation placed offshore drilling activities squarely under ***** purview of the U.S. federal government ***** ***** planning for ***** operations is currently regarded as a m*****jor ***** action that require environmental protection statements and ongoing over***** (Rothbach). The move to exploit coastal oil reserves is not limited to the United States, of course, and many countries have expanded ********** previous coastal oil explorations efforts into ***** areas in recent years as well (Falola & Genova, 2005; Rauber, 2001).

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


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