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The simple fact is this that the initiation of offshore oil drilling can be used effectively as a threat to lower the overall importing prices of oil from the Middle East States. The actual drilling, if looking at its impact internally, might or might not result in the actual decrease in gas prices or increase of alternative fuel and energy production. But in the recent times, the real reason for such a high debate on the offshore drilling aspect has been to use it merely as a strategy and a negotiation tool.
This approach and application of this strategy is something that neither I, nor people like who think that offshore drilling has more negative effects then positive, have a problem with. I do have a problem however with how offshore drilling is portrayed as the savior for the American dependency on foreign oil. Its like love is cast off as the savior of every relationship when clearly no relationship can work without compromise, communication, respect, etc. Similarly, it is the lack of acknowledgment of the peripheral factors that makes the support for the offshore drilling a weak bet. The fact is that most of the oil companies are not even using the land and territory already available to them for the drilling which makes one wonder why the sudden push for the offshore drilling is so strong. If the oil companies aren't producing oil from the reserves currently available to them, then what's to guarantee that the investment in offshore drilling will be a profitable one (Gertz, 2008)
John Koch, who is the chairman of the Loxahatchee Group, highlighted the negative impact of offshore oil drilling in a luncheon last year conducted by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce. Koch explained that the project of offshore drilling would actually have no impact on the overall gas prices but will only present two expensive options for Americans to choose from because oil itself would not be sold as a cheap commodity to the Americans only because America was producing it internally. He also added that the risk of environmental hazards will never diminish and there will come a time when the overall weather conditions or unpredictable weather turns will cause spills, not to mention the spills that could occur due to incompetent manpower. He also supported the argument that has been made throughout this paper that the actual impact of the offshore drilling cannot be decisively agreed upon as positive and even if it were, there impact would still not be felt for at least 14-17 years in the practical sense (Parsley, 2008).
Robert Kaufman, who is a specialist on global oil markets and is the manager of Boston University's Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, voices the same opinion as Koch and asks: "Do you think oil companies are going to sell [U.S. oil] to U.S. consumers for anything less than top price?" He them himself answers: "The answer is no." There is no guarantee that, first there are enough reserves, and two that oil will be used as an alternate energy commodity for the people because even if the Congress can control whether offshore drilling is done or not, it simply cannot control how and where the produced oil will be used and to what extent (Gertz, 2008).
The fact of the matter is that oil drilling cannot guarantee any profits and it cannot guarantee a positive impact, it can however guarantee that there is going to be a heavily negative impact on the ecological and environmental structure of the country and it will exist from the very beginning. Also, the risk that the 3,100 oil rigs that already exist in the offshore areas of North America could face dangers of spills and environmental hazards has also existed through from the beginning. Below is a list of only some incidents that have happened within the offshore oil rigs industry and have cause severe pressures on the economy of the country and have also resulted in various environmental hazards:
May 1992: Chevron USA was booked for committing 65 different breaches of the Clean Water Act and was made to pay for damages in a total of $8 million because of the illegal and waste disposals from the company into the California shoreline that had disrupted the marine life.
March 1997: Chevron again had to a total of $1.2 million for using an oil well that didn't have the proper ant-blowout valve which is very important in order to keep the surrounding areas safe from the hazardous emissions.
1998: a majority of the marine life and fishing business at the Santa Ynez River was destroyed due to the oil rupture and spill of Torch Oil's pipeline that spilled more then 21,000 gallons of oil into the water (Stern, 2008).
The argument that I am making here is that with the presence of 3,100 oil rigs, the States have not been able to produce enough oil or the quality of oil to remain independent of foreign imports of oil or at least become self -- independent. How can anyone guarantee that adding a few hundred more rigs will change that? What is guaranteed that money will be spent on the damages that will most definitely happen and happen at an increased percentage once the offshore oil drilling ban is lifted by the Congress. Furthermore, it is not the deficiency of gasoline or diesel that is increasing the prices, but it is perception or anticipation of a shortage that is increasing the prices, it is an anticipation of the production of oil that is increasing the prices (Gross, 2008).
Furthermore, what this focus on offshore oil drilling will do in my opinion is take the focus away from the development of alternative and more environment-friendly fuels. The fact s that many scientists claim that the oil resources of this world will peak in perhaps a decade or mare and then the world will experience a severe shortage of oil which will lead to higher prices of oil. If this stat is actually true then it is far more important to be prepared fro a shortage by having alternative fuels as backup. If the plan for alternative fuels and not offshore oil drilling had been the focus then the rise in gasoline prices would not have been so steady or stressful as there would always be alternative and environment-friendly fuels accessible (Stolberg, 2008).
Daniels, B. Offshore Drilling: Pros and Cons. 2008.Taken from: http://www.411mania.com/politics/columns/81832
Gertz, E. Can Offshore Drilling Really Make the U.S. Oil Independent? Even if U.S. energy policy goes "drill baby drill," there will be no escape from the vicissitudes of the global oil market. Scientific American. 2008.
Gross, D. Drilling for Answers: Will we find the oil we need offshore? Newsweek, 18-06-2008.
Parsley, J. Wellington chamber weighs pros, cons of offshore drilling. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 2008.
Stern, M. Ecological Concerns about U.S. Offshore Oil Drilling. Global Ecology. 2008.
Stolberg, S.G. Offshore drilling won't be easy sell: Bush prods Congress to open U.S. waters to oil exploration, but even if it happens, it's no quick fix.…[continue]
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