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 ***** sources, including nuclear, wind and solar power. While the experts may not agree ***** which approach is the best for ***** future, virtually everyone agrees that petroleum will remain the fuel of choice ***** many industries and consumers around the ***** because of ***** enormous investments in this source to date. In this environment, it is reasonable ***** assume ***** offshore ***** drilling will continue to provide th***** important source of energy for the nation in the *****, but not ***** is of the same mind concerning ***** environmental impact that such operations entail. *****deed, some environmentalists want all offshore oil 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 the relevant literature to identify the primary effects of ***** ***** drilling on marine life ***** habitat, followed by a summary of the research and important findings in ***** c*****clusion.

Review and Discussion

Locating, installing and operating a successful offshore oil drilling plat*****m is a d*****unting 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 *****dustry 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, ei*****r. For example, in January 1969, Union Oil, operating pursuant to an exploration lease from the United States, *****ed drilling an explora*****ry hole below the oce***** surface off ***** coast of Santa Barbara, California, ultimately hitting a high-pressure ***** 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) and subsequent legislation placed ***** drilling activities squarely under ***** purview of the U.S. federal government and ***** planning for ***** operations is currently regarded as a major federal action that require environmental protection statements ***** ongoing over***** (Rothbach). The move to exploit coastal oil reserves ***** not limited to the United States, of course, and many countries have expanded th***** previous coastal oil ********** efforts into offshore areas in recent years as well (Falola & Genova, 2005; Rauber, 2001).

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


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