What Offshore Drilling Could Mean for Our World
By: Corrine Koziel
In January, the Trump Administration released an extremely reckless plan to open more than 90 percent of our oceans to offshore drilling. The New York Times reported that this would open more than a billion acres along the Arctic and Eastern Seaboard. Dangerous oil spills, like the 2010 BP disaster, which polluted the Gulf of Mexico with 4.9 billion barrels of oil, would put us all under imminent threat. Trump’s Administration also want to conduct seismic testing for oil and gas deposits. Our oceans and marine life should not be toyed with; they must be respected and protected. This agenda carries unbearable weight, calls for dangerous ramifications, and casually sacrifices coastal communities, marine life, and our water.
Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management — compares offshore drilling during the Bush administration (left), Obama administration (center), and Trump administration (right)
Lively coastal communities expressed their opposition to this plan. In a blog written and published by Frank Knapp, President of the Business Alliance for Protection the Atlantic Coast, he said that thousands of small businesses, restaurants, hotels, and fishing operations oppose offshore drilling in their waters. Similar coastal communities can be found in all states that border an ocean. Florida is especially susceptible to offshore drilling, and Representative Charlie Crist is openly opposed to the hazardous plan. The Tampa Bay Times published an article written by Crist, and in it, he details his experience with marine life covered in toxic sludge, the near collapse of fisheries and tourism, and how the Gulf of Mexico is still recovering from the BP oil rig spill.
Oil spills are not the only harmful threat to our oceans. Seismic testing is a deadly way to examine the seafloor. It uses air guns every ten seconds, for every day, for weeks on end to determine the location of buried oil and gas deposits. According to government estimates, more than 138,500 whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks, and fish will soon be injured or killed if companies are permitted to use seismic blasts. Greenpeace reported that marine life would suffer from temporary and permanent hearing loss, abandonment of habitat, disruption of mating and feeding, beach stranding, and death. In fact, Fox News reported an additional 60 environmental groups who said such unprecedented drilling would impose severe and unacceptable harm to the country’s oceans, coastal communities, public health, and marine life. The Sierra Club, another nonprofit organization, quickly expressed their concern, “These ocean waters are not Trump’s personal playground. They belong to all Americans and the public want them preserved and protected, not sold off to multinational oil companies”.
This is just another way that the Trump Administration is selling out the American people and placing profit over our environment. The highest buyer should not dictate whether fish live, or whether we have clean oceans in ten years. The United States does not own the Earth, yet apparently Trump does not comprehend the menacing ramifications of his proposal. Science Magazine, in affiliation with the American Association of the Advancement of Science, stated that people from coast to coast must resist this shortsighted, climate wrecking giveaway to the oil industry, and that Trump is trying to turn our oceans into oil fields. Political parties and personal agendas aside, what is the point of offshore drilling jobs and products if we are all dead?
We need to stop fracking, offshore drilling, seismic testing, and negative changes to our environment. Action is needed at both the state and federal levels to permanently ban oil and gas exploration. Take advantage of public comment periods and let your representatives know you oppose.