Living in Nebraska my entire life, I have never had a real connection with the coastal plans going on regarding the offshore drilling. I decided to embark on a mission, researching all of the aspects of this lesser known topic, and how it effects our country as a whole. A startling discovery led me to Robert Stewart, author of “Oil Spills” list of the largest spills on record in the United States territory. Spills have been negatively impacting our natural resources since 1967, most recently the BP oil spill. On April 20, 2010, a staggering 140 million gallons of oil were spilled into the ocean over a four and a half month time period. That year I had went on vacation to Louisiana to visit family. They didn’t live to close to the coast, but we still wanted to see the ocean. As i arrived i immediately saw the impact of the spill. Families were losing business and I started to wonder if I would ever get the chance to see the beautiful ocean as it once was. That year I saw the impact humans had on nature, I saw animals drenched in oil and flames engulfing the water. And all for what? Well that was what I was going to find out.
The public has very split views on this sensitive topic, but in reality most are unaware of the cold hard facts about drilling. Jacqueline Savitz, Oceana senior campaign director, states, “These spills are often being swept under the rug, but the public and policy makers have a right to know how much damage is being done to our oceans” (qtd. In Oceana par. 6). Some will argue that gas prices will lower if we continue to drill, but again this is false. According to Angela Howe, author of “A False Choice: Ocean Conservation vs. Energy Development”, the time period where more drilling sites were being founded, gas prices rose to an all-time high. Before the spills even occur pollution is given off at an uncontrollable rate, effecting marine, coastal, and human environments. Yet after all of these revelations, the United States still believes this is the best and only option for prosperity. The Natural Resources Defense Council is one of the nations most respected environmental groups made up of 1.4 million members. According to NRDC, “It’s time to move beyond our dependence on oil and seek alternatives such as clean energy and fuel efficiency” (‘Offshore Oil Drilling Cons and Negative Effects’ par. 8). The US needs to ban offshore drilling for the animals, resources, and people being negatively affected.
Oceana, the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation, discuss how big company oil spills are polluting our waters, killing sea life, and putting thousands of people out of work. Their mission as a foundation is to prevent the expansion of offshore drilling and protect the marine life involved in the process. Many oil rigs such as the Deep-water Horizon BP have spilled into the oceans causing climate changes and ocean acidification, also known as the decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans (‘Offshore Drilling Overview’ par. 2). The science behind this process may be intimidating to some, but the reality is these companies are killing off natural resources and the sea life in not only the immediate areas of the drilling site, but miles out in the ocean. The alarming thing is, I found more damaging information about drilling and the effects before a spill even occurs, so it is not only the spills hurting the ocean. Alaska Marine Conservation Council explains that seismic surveys are a threat to all sea life as well. The sound waves given off by the surveys destroy the natural ability of sea mammals to determine where they are and survive the treacherous dangers of finding food and staying alive. (AMCC par. 15) This organization has been providing environmental protection from Anchorage and seeing that a change be made regarding the well-being of sea life since 1993. Advocates are out here trying to get this crucial information to the public, I was willing to listen and now see the damage being done.
I have now been introduced to more information than I was aware that day by the ocean. The fact that spills, large and small are occurring every day without the attention of the public is a huge factor in why history will continue to repeat itself until we are out of all natural resources and sea life. If this continues to be allowed in the United States, families like mine will not get a chance to see the beautiful landscape of a clear ocean. People will see a black, lifeless body of water, representing our nation as a whole. If a girl from Nebraska cares about this epidemic, why don’t you?
“Alaska Marine Conservation Council.” Risks of Oil & Gas Drilling. Alaska Marine Conservation Council, Web. 17 Feb. 2014.
Bartels, Meghan. “Oceana | Protecting the World’s Oceans.” Oceana. Oceana, 16 Nov. 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.
“Domestic Oil Drilling.” Offshore Oil Drilling Cons & Negative Effects. Natural Resources Defense Council, 17 May 2011. Web. 07 Feb. 2014.
Howe, Angela. “A False Choice: Ocean Conservation vs. Energy Development.” Academic Search Complete. EBSCO, Jan/Feb. 2009.Web. 3 Feb. 2014.
“Oceana | Protecting the World’s Oceans.” Oceana. Oceana, 2012. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
Stewart, Robert R. “Oil Spills.” Oil Spills. Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, 7 July 2010. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.