When I first decided to write on this topic I really didn’t understand any con side of it but, as the research went on I found tons of reasons for it not to happen. There are many things that go into off shore drilling including experience which very few people or companies have in the U.S. since it has been banned. It also has to keep in mind all the environmental problems that go along with drilling in the ocean as well.
The off shore drilling has been tried and failed off the U.S. coast before so what is the positive for doing it now. The main con side for drilling of the U.S. coast is the way our oceans support our country through food, energy, and just the all-round beauty and enjoyment of our nation’s beaches.
When I started the research into the negative reaction off shore drilling would have on the environment I was very surprised that is was even being considered. Like most people I spent most of my vacations as a child at the beach. If we start allowing drilling to occur then one spill could wipe out quite a few of our beautiful beaches and end the vacations for years. Let’s start at the BP spill off the coast of Louisiana. That spill all started because the number three engine took in highly carbonated air and it mixed with the fuel mixture and blew up.
When it blew up it killed all the generators which in turn stopped them from being able to cap the well and detach from it. There is an EDS system that the off shore oil rigs use to disconnect from the well on the ocean floor but, it is electronic. If the generators go out then the EDS doesn’t work because there is no manual override and that is when we have a massive oil spill.
The con list for offshore drilling just keeps going on to the fact that the oil companies don’t have a good way to clean up any spills. Just like the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, that happened over twenty years ago now, we still can’t stop the spread of oil in the ocean after the oil has been spilled. These companies are using chemicals now to try and clean up the oil out of the oceans. The BP people are using Corexit Dispersants which has been banned by the United Kingdom for spill control because it was found to be harmful to human health.
This spill has an estimated cost of more the $12 billion dollars through fishing, tourism, and the environment. With all of these chemicals in the water now the researchers are expecting that number to grow to about $14 billion before it is all said and done.
The other problem with our off shore drilling is that it doesn’t fix the problem that we already have which is the addiction the U.S. has for oil. The United States has only a tiny fraction of the world’s crude oil reserve. The U.S. consumption of oil was at its highest in 1972 at 3.5 billion barrels per year. It is now at about 7.1 billion barrels a year even as we have gone into a recession.
Even if the government opened all the waters for off shore drilling we would only supply one year of oil to the U.S. and it wouldn’t free us from imported oil. We should instead of drilling support more clean, green technologies. The more efficient transportation technologies that we can make the less oil we will need in years to come. We also need to include smart growth technologies to cities to reduce gridlock and make our cities and communities more livable.
One other problem we are having with these oil companies are the fact that they are not utilizing the leases in the gulf they own already. The oil companies hold over four thousand undeveloped leases in the western Gulf of Mexico. So, why are we going to open up our other areas for drilling when they aren’t even using the ones they can drill on now? If it is so important to drill in our oceans they need to start with the ones they already own instead of taking their profits and buying back all of their stock options.
In fact the U.S. doesn’t even possess enough oil to significantly offset the growing demand even if we drilled every forest, national park, and beach in the U.S. We are now starting to break records by paying over one hundred dollars a barrel for oil. If this isn’t a wakeup call to the citizens of the United States to reduce to oil dependency and demand efficiency and renewable fuels then we are doomed for destruction over the next one hundred years. All oil prices are going to do is keep rising no matter where they drill for it.
In conclusion, I think that off shore oil drilling can be a good thing if the government will put more regulations on it and find an easy and efficient way to clean it up. I also think that we do not need to drill here until the big five oil companies start using the leases they already have in the Gulf of Mexico. I also think the environment should no matter what be our number one concern of the Government.
If anything happens to our ecosystem our whole way of life will fall even if we have oil rigs pumping oil. We completely survive of the ecosystem through food, air, wood, and all natural resources. So, I believe that no matter the conclusion the government makes on off shore drilling their number one priority should be our environment so the kids of our future have something to look forward to.
Bibliography Nelson, Hal T. “Should the U.S. Cancel Plans for Off Shore Drilling?” Seek and Find.com 28 May 2010. http://www.freerepublic.com. Weiss, Daniel J. “Time to Diversify Energy Resources as Oil Hits $100 a Barrel.” Center for American Progress. 3 January 2008. http://www.americanprogress.org. Cavnar, Bob. Disaster on the Horizon: High Stakes, High Risks and The Story of the Deep-water Well Blowout. Whiteriver Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2010 Reiss, Bob. The Eskimo and The Oil Man: The Battle at the Top of the World for Americas Future. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing, May 2012