Argumentative Essay on Halting Offshore Drilling and Pursuing Alternative Clean Energy

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Oil is an engine for American economic growth. America globally ranks first in natural gas and third in crude oil production. There are two techniques of oil drilling-fracking and offshore drilling. While fracking is a drilling technique to extract oil and natural gas from underneath the earth, offshore drilling is from under the ocean. Offshore drilling, according to Gale, a Cengage Company, is the technique of accessing oil and natural gas deposits in the ocean (“Offshore Drilling”). Offshore drilling involves the exploration and production of oil and natural gas. With an increasing need for economic growth and energy independence, offshore drilling is expanding in the US despite recurring oil spill crisis that affects the environment, human health, and economy. Offshore drilling must stop because it put the environment, human health, and economy at risk.

Offshore drilling significantly impacts the environment. The process of offshore drilling results in the emission of huge greenhouse gases and pollution of water and air. “(…) the routine operations associated with offshore drilling produce many toxic wastes and other forms of pollution” (Natural Resources Defense Council [NRDC] 2). Toxic and chemical substances produced during routine operations are released back into the ocean for oil extraction. These dangerous substances contaminate the water and eventually result in the death and poisoning of marine and terrestrial life. The impact of toxic and chemical substances is long-lasting on the environment.

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On the other hand, a largescale oil spill into the ocean has a devastating impact on the environment. The risk of an oil spill is imminent as offshore drilling expands. Oil spills occur during routine operations, explosions, and transportation from the oil field to consumers. It also happens during waste removal after the extraction of oil. “Transporting extracted oil along the supply chain carries a significant risk of spills and other potentially damaging accidents. Waste products leftover (…) can also be hazardous to the environment and the health of marine and terrestrial life” (Gale 1). The oil spill occurring during the transportation of extracted oil and the removal of waste after production significantly affects the environment. A large-scale oil spill may cover wide areas of the ocean that can harm people living, working, and vacationing along with the coastal areas. With the current cleanup methods being used, only a small fraction of the oil spilled into the ocean can be removed. So, the oil spilled into the ocean continues to affect the ocean ecosystems.

In addition to environmental impact, offshore drilling poses a risk to human health. People working on offshore oil rigs are vulnerable to occupational health risks. The explosion can happen either during exploration or production. The explosion may cause injury and death to oil rig workers. “Accidents, injuries, and deaths are common” (Gale 2). Between 2009-2016, twenty-nine oil rig workers were killed, and 1932 were injured according to Gale’s research paper. Despite safety measures taken at the workplace, offshore drilling endangers the lives of rig workers. CNN reported that “the 2010 spill was one of the worst in US history, killing 11 people (…) and hurting human health.” It is undeniable that the oil spill catastrophe is causing human loss and injury. Offshore oil drilling produces toxic substances and radioactive pollutants that eventually poison the seafood that human beings eat.

Offshore oil drilling affects not only the environment and human health but also the economy. Oil is a key component of the American economy. The government subsidizes the oil industry in billions to become energy independent nation. Offshore drilling requires a huge investment, but the risk associated with it is higher than the rewards. Martine O’Malley contends that the “benefits of offshore drilling do not outweigh the threat to economic when an inevitable spill occurs” (1). When an accident happens due to an explosion or hurricane, the economic impact is immense. During the oil spill crisis, oil prices increased, employees, lose their job, and the government spends billions on recovery. When the oil spill is unable to be contained, the tourism and fishing industry suffers greatly.

The tourism and fishing industry generates huge income for coastal communities. Coastal communities heavily rely on tourism, coastal recreation, and fishing. “According to the U.S. Travel Association, tourism in America is a $1.7 trillion industry, with coastal communities representing over $700 billion annually” (McCormick 2). Commercial fishing also generates approximately $35 billion annually. There should be a healthy and safe ocean as it is indispensably important for marine life and local business, including tourism and fishing. Failure to do so will adversely affect the income generated from the tourism and fishing industry.

Furthermore, oil spills affect the economy on that coast of oil spill recovery is so high. The government spends billions on recovery. Oil spill cleanup takes a long time. Oceana's campaign director Diane Hoskins told CNN that “Almost 10 years after the BP Deepwater oil spill, offshore drilling is just as dirty and dangerous despite pledges otherwise” (“alarming unaddressed deficiencies in offshore drilling”). The cleanup methods currently being used can only remove a small fraction of the oil spilled into the ocean, and uncontained oil spill continues to affect the ocean ecosystems. Only 5 % of the 4.2 million barrels were able to be cleaned up in five years in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico according to NYT. The economy suffers significantly from prolonged cleanup. “The spill (…) more likely costing over $100 billion in lost economic activity and restoration expenses, disruption or destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs” (O’Malley 1). Oil spill results in long-lasting ecological impacts, including marine life and pollution if unable to contain the disaster quickly. The government spends billions to subsidize the offshore drilling industry that could rather be used to generate alternative clean energy. That is why offshore drilling rewards do not outweigh the risks associated with it.

In conclusion, offshore drilling risks oil spills that can damage the ocean and pose risks to the environment, human health, and the economy. Its damage to the environment is irreversible, economic recovery is expensive, and cleaning up the oil spilled is a difficult task and time-consuming. Records from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spills show only 5 % of the total oil spilled was able to be removed in 5 years. Human safety, particularly oil rig workers and coastal communities, is at risk. The tourism and fishing industry suffer economic loss in the aftermath of the oil spill crisis. Offshore drilling requires huge investment though the risk associated with it outweighs the benefit. Offshore drilling must stop because it poses risk to the environment, human health, and economy. The future can only be redeemed through halting offshore drilling and pursuing alternative clean energy.

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Argumentative Essay on Halting Offshore Drilling and Pursuing Alternative Clean Energy. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 16, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/argumentative-essay-on-halting-offshore-drilling-and-pursuing-alternative-clean-energy/
“Argumentative Essay on Halting Offshore Drilling and Pursuing Alternative Clean Energy.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/argumentative-essay-on-halting-offshore-drilling-and-pursuing-alternative-clean-energy/
Argumentative Essay on Halting Offshore Drilling and Pursuing Alternative Clean Energy. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/argumentative-essay-on-halting-offshore-drilling-and-pursuing-alternative-clean-energy/> [Accessed 16 Jul. 2024].
Argumentative Essay on Halting Offshore Drilling and Pursuing Alternative Clean Energy [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2024 Jul 16]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/argumentative-essay-on-halting-offshore-drilling-and-pursuing-alternative-clean-energy/
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