There has been a lot of debate among politicians, environmentalists, activists, scientists, and other people concerned about further decisions on the matter of offshore drilling of oil. Naturally, every disputable issue is discussed in the press and public; some people are interested in developing the oil fields in the ocean while others are afraid of the impact of industrial change on their lives. It may seem that ordinary people should benefit from offshore drilling because it would decrease the unemployment rate and give common people an opportunity to find a job and work stably without being afraid to lose their job. Moreover, offshore drilling means that the fuel costs are likely to decrease; as the world is experiencing the financial crisis and every field of the global economy is under the stress of instability and risk as well as the domestic economy of every country, it is necessary to make crucial decisions to change the situation.
The debate around the offshore oil drilling
There are different positions concerning the offshore drilling of oil on the coastal line of the United States of America. Some people are against the development of the oil fields in the ocean because it may damage the health of the sea fauna and influence its reproduction (Culture Change par. 7). Environmental protection is one of the burning issues of the modern economic situation. In this respect, the technological progress and wealth of the country are opposed to the pollution of the ocean, air, and its influence on marine organisms. The dispute considers the salvation of the fuel costs problem and the search for alternative sources of energy other than oil and gas developed within the coastal line of the United States of America.
The purpose of this paper is to prove that offshore oil drilling is wrong and should not be developed within the coastal line of the United States. The economic reasons should not be opposed to the issues of environmental protection; moreover, political decisions should be aimed at solving different problems not related to the financial situation in the country and the world. The decision on offshore drilling of oil should be made to protect the natural fauna and flora of the ocean. It is obvious that offshore drilling is harmful and the economic benefits from the development of oil fields in the ocean cannot be greater than the damage caused to nature. Consequently, the damage is greater than the potential benefit because the economic consequences of offshore oil drilling cannot be compared to the long-term environmental effect.
Pros and cons of the issue
The way in which this paper examines the current issue, in order to prove the aforementioned thesis, is as follows: It is necessary to discuss the pros and cons of the environmental consequences with regard to the problem of alternative energy and possible ways of oil development. The next issue that should be analyzed to prove that offshore oil drilling is wrong is the economic situation in the world and its influence on citizens of the United States of America and the vision of how the development of the offshore oil fields may facilitate the salvation of financial problems. In addition, the technologies and limitations concerning offshore oil drilling should be taken into consideration.
As the most burning issue in the debate concerning offshore oil drilling is the environment, it is necessary to introduce all consequences which the natural environment of the coastal area may see. In this respect, one of the chapters of the book Long-Term Environmental Effects of Offshore Oil and Gas Development written by Donald F. Boesch and Nancy N. Rabalais discloses the sequence of activities during the development of the oil fields located in the coastal line and the possible consequences of these activities. Thus, the process of drilling provokes “larger and more heavily concentrated discharges of drilling fluids and cuttings; risk of blowouts” (Boesch and Rabalais 151). So, the drilling does not pass unnoticed as most policymakers think because it is really important to think about nature and successive generations.
So, nature cannot be protected and it will be the one to suffer from the economical situation in the world and the United States of America, namely. As suggested in the article by the New Your Times reporter John Broder,
The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska – nearly 130 million acres – would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies (par. 4).
Though the decision is tough, it should be made in order to gain independence for the American people in terms of the oil sources and the products made of oil. The Americans are known for consuming about twenty percent of the world’s amount of oil, while the natural reserves contain only about two percent of this mineral, as mentioned by President Obama (CNN Wire Staff).
The minerals are likely to be developed because people must produce energy and different products that can be made of oil and its derivatives. As most products, including petroleum, pharmaceutical goods, cosmetics, and other useful things are made of oil, it is necessary to search for some alternative source of minerals for these products as well as for alternative sources of energy. Energy became a synonym of oil and vice versa. Naturally, people cannot imagine their lives without driving a car, though it is reasonable to go by bus or another type of public transport. It is obvious that people got used to convenience which is only possible because of the exploration of natural mineral resources. Though the development of the offshore oil fields via drilling is likely to damage the ocean floor because it involves the activity which presupposes digging of the pits and filling them with cement in the case they turn out to lack the minerals searched for, it is necessary to take into account all risks and difficulties.
Though the president was talking about the wealth and introduction of new technologies into the process of offshore oil drilling, he added that these steps are taken to “sustain economic growth, produce jobs, and keep our business competitive” (CNN Wire Staff). It is natural that the president of one of the superpowers decided to take tough steps to keep the economy of the whole country on a level close to one it obtained before the world financial crisis. The situation is difficult, and it goes without saying that some decisions that were not supposed to be even discussed should be taken to sustain the economy of the country as well as the financial condition of separate citizens. On the contrary, there should be presented alternative decisions.
One of the most appropriate decisions that can be made to sustain the economy without damaging the natural environment should consider alternative energy sources as well as alternative jobs for people that became unemployed and homeless due to the steps taken by the government of the United States and enterprises on throughout the territory of the country. All states appear to be involved in the financial crisis and its consequences, though only some people understand that the offshore drilling of oil would not make the situation better. Moreover, the decisions that can be made in the nearest future are sure to influence the successive generations of Americans in terms of the damaged natural environment, marine organisms that are not able to reproduce themselves, or even the waters of the ocean that will lack any kind of organisms because of the offshore oil drilling nowadays.
The president said that the drilling of the Floridian coastline which had been protected for decades cannot be developed in terms of drilling (BarackObamadotcom); one of the legislations was the Oil Pollution act of 1990 (Randle 21-54). It is obvious that former words and decisions can be easily forgotten in order to benefit from actions that were said to be effective in a generation. This means that the natural environment can be damaged only because someone decided to start irrelevant and ineffective development of the offshore oil fields several decades earlier.
Thus, Dwight Holing has written a book Coastal Alert: Ecosystems, Energy, and Offshore Oil Drilling which contains a discussion of all pros and cons of offshore drilling. Besides the author indicates the ways how the alternative sources of energy can replace the offshore drilling of oil and gas. Though there are a lot of different alternative sources of energy, oil remains one of the most efficient ones in terms of the areas of use because it is used in the automobile building, pharmaceutical industry, production of cosmetics, and different goods that contain derivatives of oil.
Consequently, the author suggests that the houses should be provided with heat insulation in order to spend less energy on making them warmer inside; “aggressive home insulation programs could also swell the conservation oil field” (Holing 71). This is one of the steps offered by the actual president of the United States of America who is known for attempts to reduce energy consummation. As technological progress is not the only aspect that is important in the process of offshore oil drilling, it is necessary to abandon the idea to sustain the economy of the country with the help of damaging the natural environment.
Economic stability can be reached with the help of alternative energy sources which are sure to make the United States of America and its citizens independent from foreign oil, though the consummation of oil by the American people makes one-fifth of the world’s amount of this mineral. It is necessary to think about both salvation of the economic problems and protection of the natural environment because these issues should be considered with regard to the impact of consequences of each of them. Independence from foreign oil is not the end because it is possible to refuse to use oil at all. Independence from oil can contribute greatly to the protection of the natural environment. So, it is necessary to get rid of the oil addiction in terms of consummation. It is important to reduce the level of oil consummation by the population and industrial objects.
It is always necessary to think about the future with regard to different alternatives, people around that may encounter the impact of the decisions you make, and the natural environment that cannot be renewed. Things cannot be changed as well as decisions that are made once influence the chain of further events. Some politicians are likely to make decisions that influence entire generations of people; sometimes it is impossible to anticipate the further events and consequences of some decisions. People should search for alternative methods to solve economic problems within the country because it is irrelevant to expand offshore oil fields which will see the effect of full production in a generation, while the measures should be taken immediately. Inappropriate decisions cause fatal events.
The economic situation in the country does not make the president’s administration proud because people suffer losses, lose their jobs, and lose their dwellings. It is obvious that the world financial crisis has affected the whole world and most countries experience difficulties in helping their citizens to keep on their legs. As most people lived on credit and were not able to pay their debts, they were forced to become homeless because they had lost their positions. Everything was becoming worth as the snowball of problems and difficulties was getting bigger and bigger every day. The country could not afford to pay off the debts of its citizens in order to give them some time to save some money. Efforts and hard work helped people to survive this hardship, though the country still experiences the consequences of the financial crisis. Some people claim that the crisis had not finished yet and that the country saw only the beginning of the financial problems.
In this respect, offshore oil drilling does not seem to be as harmful as it could appear last decade or even a few years ago. However, it is natural that people make some alternative decisions instead of beating about the bush. Though the natural environment will be damaged, President Obama was talking about the healthy balance between drilling and nature (CNN Wire Staff). New technologies are expected to reduce the impact of the industrial intervention in the natural integrity of the ecological system of the coastline of the territory which is expected to be the object of offshore drilling of oil. Nature is likely to protect itself if there will no chance left for the development of alternative sources of energy instead of drilling.
Why do not activists go by bus or even bicycle in order to get to the place they need? The answer is simple with regard to all people that live in modern society and enjoy the result of technological progress; all people want to live with comfort. The only dilemma that appears at this stage is that whether the technological progress would lead the modern society to the alternative source of energy as well as new products which would be made without the use of oil, gas, and other minerals or the only way here is to explore the natural deposits to the extent that the successive generations would suffer from consequences of these alternatives. The most burning issues appear when the activists start claiming that offshore oil drilling is nearly the most dangerous thing which could happen to the natural environment of the coastline of the United States.
Impact on generations
The generations are sure to experience the full production of the fields which are expected to be developed in the nearest future because the current decision “will not provide families with any relief”, as Barack Obama claimed in Jacksonville, Florida, being a presidential candidate (BarackObamadotcom). Obama’s speech in Jacksonville was aimed at assuring people that no offshore oil drilling would take place and that this would not happen because of the irrelevance of the effect.
Technologies and limitations
In this perspective, another question appears: What are possible technological innovations and solutions that can be used in the area of offshore oil drilling in order not to harm the natural environment. It is obvious that the answer presupposes that the industry is doomed to damage nature which is the place of habitation of different species which are much older than the human civilization and which cannot protect themselves from the impact of human industry, pollution, and offshore oil drilling. The technological innovations are sure to be beneficial for enterprises that use these devices and facilities in order to increase the profit with the help of modern machines which dig the ocean floor.
Sometimes the technological progress only damages further decisions and makes people take inappropriate measures. For example, the World Wide Web is a very useful innovation that took the human society ten steps towards the development of information technologies and other helpful gadgets and devices which may turn out to appear necessary, though the presentation of this innovation made people lazier and more latent in terms of going to libraries to search for necessary materials, visiting concerts which now can be watched via internet. It is obvious that all innovations impact people, though it is necessary to discuss whether the impact is positive or negative in terms of consequences. It is obvious that drilling machines can become more nature-saving and less harmful than a decade before. Moreover, technological progress is likely to minimize the impact of technologies on the natural environment. However, the technological means mechanical, whereas mechanical cannot be considered a nature-friendly. It is obvious that any kind of intervention into the natural environment is sure to impact nature and its inhabitants or event damage the natural dwelling of numerous species leaving no chance that the species can be renewed.
As some “Economic decisions require significant planning and engineering before an oil operator will commit to this level of expenditures” (Adams 26), it is necessary to explore the ocean floor properly before claiming that the oil or some other minerals can be expanded there. According to the Offshore, the area of offshore drilling remains one of the most perspective ones in terms of the economical decision-making and profits expected to be received from the expansion of the offshore oil and gas fields. Though the area of offshore drilling remains one of the perspective ones regarding the profits of the oil developing companies, it is obvious that some people are not likely to abandon ideas on the exploration of the ocean floor. In addition, Iyer, Grossmann, Vasantharajan, and Cullick suggest an effective plan which can be used in the process of strategy development as well as the exploration of the offshore fields.
To conclude, it is necessary to enumerate the reasons for using the offshore drilling of oil in the areas which were conserved and protected from any interventions for decades. The economic difficulties experienced by the country and its citizens are one of the most important reasons for the exploration of oil fields because it is necessary to make the American people independent from foreign oil. As the nation is not likely to reduce the consummation of oil in the nearest future, it is necessary to think about alternative sources of energy. Technological innovations should not be refuted while solving the problem of alternative energy because offshore oil drilling is expected to be effective to the full capacity only for the successive generation, while the nation needs some solutions to be made immediately.
I think it is wrong that the authorities want to open offshore oil drilling, though it is necessary to cope with problems caused by the world financial crisis. As most alternative sources of energy are likely to be based on natural phenomena, it is necessary to develop technologies to maintain the demands of the population in terms of the amount of energy required. It is obvious that the natural environment cannot be renewed; however, we can protect it.
Adams, Neal. Terrorism and Oil. Tulsa, Oklahoma: PennWell Books, 2003.
BarackObamadotcom. “Barack Obama on Offshore Oil Drilling.” Organizing for America. You Tube. 2008. Web.
Boesch, Donald F., and Nancy N. Rabalais. Long-Term Environmental Effects of Offshore Oil and Gas Development. Abingdon, Oxon: Taylor & Francis, 1987.
Broder, John M. “Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time.” New York Times. New York Times, 2010. Web.
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Holing, Dwight. Coastal Alert: Ecosystems, Energy, and Offshore Oil Drilling. Washington, D. C.: Island Press, 1990.
Iyer, R. R., Grossmann, I. E., Vasantharajan, S., and A. S. Cullick. “Optimal Planning and Scheduling of Offshore Oil Field Infrastructure Investment and Operations.” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 37 (1998): 1380-1397. Web.
Offshore. “OTC.10: Focus On Oil and Gas Developments and Technology.” Offshore Magazine. PennWell, 2010. Web.
Randle, Russell V. Oil Pollution Deskbook. Washington, D. C.: Environmental Law Institute, 1991.