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 *****lternative ***** sources, including nuclear, wind and solar power. While the experts may not agree on which approach is the best for ***** 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 ***** environment, it is reasonable to assume ***** offshore ***** drilling ***** continue ***** provide th***** important source of energy for ***** nation in *****e *****, but not everyone is of the same mind concerning ***** *****al 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 the oil industry, while others suggest that these drilling platforms provide valuable ***** for marine ***** during and after the completion ***** *****ir 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 and habitat, followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the c*****clusion.

***** ***** 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 the first well out of sight of land in the Gulf of Mexico in 1948. By ***** 1950s the American petroleum ********** 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 oce***** surface off ***** coast of Santa Barbara, California, ultimately hitting a high-pressure oil pocket resulting in *****n 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 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and subsequent legislation placed offshore drilling activities squarely under the purview of the U.S. federal government ***** ***** planning for ***** ***** is currently regarded as a m*****jor ***** action that require environmental protection statements and ongoing oversight (*****). The move to exploit coastal ***** reserves is not limited to the ***** States, of course, and many countries have expanded their previous coastal oil ********** efforts ***** ***** areas in recent years as well (Falola & Genova, 2005; Rauber, 2001).

*****, a wide range of ***** initiatives are underway ***** 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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