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 ***** which approach is the best for the future, virtually everyone agrees that petroleum will remain the fuel of choice for many industries and consumers around ***** ***** because ***** the enormous investments in this source to date. In this environment, it is reasonable ***** assume ***** offshore ***** drilling ***** continue to provide th***** important source of ***** for the nation in the future, but ***** ***** is of the same mind concerning the environmental impact that such operations entail. *****deed, some environmentalists want all offshore oil drilling to cease because of a less-than-stellar safety track record by ***** oil industry, while others suggest that these ***** platforms provide valuable habitat for marine life during and after the completion of *****ir 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 ***** habitat, followed by a summary of the research and important findings in ***** conclusion.

***** ***** Discussion

Locating, installing and operating a successful offshore oil drilling platform is a daunting engineering enterprise by any measure (Cable & Smith, 2006), and Mother Nature always represents a m*****jor 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 assault 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 oce***** surface off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, ultimately hitting a high-pressure oil pocket resulting in an explosion at ***** site th***** 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 ***** purview of the U.S. federal government and ***** planning for ***** operations is currently regarded as a m*****jor federal action that require environmental protection statements and ongoing oversight (Rothbach). The move to exploit coastal oil reserves is not limited to the ***** States, of course, and many countries have expanded ********** previous coastal oil ********** efforts into offshore areas in recent years as well (Falola ***** Genova, 2005; Rauber, 2001).

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

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