Every Step of the Drilling Process Can Cause Harm to the Ocean Environment

In a new Popular Science article: “Future offshore drilling could wreak havoc on deep sea ecosystems”Sara Kiley Watson says that:

> Every step of the drilling process can cause harm to the delicate ocean environment.

Due to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinkeannouncing that more than 90% of the outer continental shelf in federal offshore areas is available for drilling, Sara further explains that:

> Offshore drilling is way more than sucking up oil through pipes.

In fact, she quotes Mohammed Gabr, a professor of civil engineering at North Carolina State University:

> Offshore drilling requires three steps: investigating the site, boring exploratory wells, and laying the pipe, and each one can affect the ecosystems that surround the area.

As a result Sarah contends:

> All of these steps comes with risks for deep-sea ecosystems.

In fact, there are many ways in which deep sea oil exploration can affect the ecosystem like sonar, dispersants, temperature changes, and pH. The article goes on to conclude that:

> More drilling means more risks.

Sarah then references Abel Valdivia from the Center for Biological Diversity who researched that:

> based on the anticipated oil production for each planning area using historical spill rates, a total of more than 5,000 new oil spills, ranging from small spills to entire platform spills. This would amount to almost 820,000 barrels of oil throughout 2019 to 2024, based on the potential oil production of 22 key planning areas in the U.S.

The article concludes by citing Lawrence Cahoon, a professor of marine biology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington who affirms:

> Going to a clean beach is an ecosystem service, fishery production is an ecosystem service,” Cahoon says of possible new drilling spots, like North Carolina. “When you factor all those things in inclusively, I suspect we’d be better off leaving that stuff alone.

The fundamental question comes down to our tolerance for this type of damage to the ecosystem.

Reality Changing Observations:

Q1. Do we want to have clean shores, wildlife, a biodiverse ecosystem?

Q2. What are your personal beliefs on our need to be stewards of our environment?

Q3. How can you become a better steward our your local environment?

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