Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Surprise, Surprise! Environmentalists Have It Wrong!

"Offshore" drilling is such an ambiguous term. The continental shelf extends anywhere from 20km to 400km off the coastline, which is the area that would be drilled. Considering the horizon is about 4-6km away from someone standing on a beach (since a beach is at sea level, there is no height advantage to make the horizon appear farther away), most beachgoers--and in fact all people living in low elevation states like the ones proposed for offshore drilling--will not even see the rigs. Thus the argument that oil rigs will be a blight on an otherwise spectacular beach scene fails.

And offshore oil rigs have a safety history 99.999 percent oil retention rate since 1975. That means only 0.001% of offshore oil has been spilled. The only reason people freak out about oil spill potentials is because one spill every few years gets blown out of proportion by the media and environmentalists. Oil drilling precautions and standards have also been tweaked and improved since 1975, so it is even less likely to have a severe oil spill in this day and age.

People think they are saving the environment or the Gulf of Mexico coastlines by protesting offshore oil drilling, but they should know that China and Cuba are already drilling in that exact location, and with far fewer regulations than American drillers would impose. Actually, it's probably smarter to discourage American offshore drilling, while allowing China to continue to ravage our natural resources. We wouldn't want to upset our future overlords by cutting off their oil supply.


JMB said...

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently did a detailed study of the likely outcome of offshore drilling for their Annual Energy Outlook 2007, “Impacts of Increased Access to Oil and Natural Gas Resources in the Lower 48 Federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).” The sobering conclusion:

The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030.

So even if we did allow offshore drilling nothing would come of it till 2030. And the impact of the projected 7% increase in lower-48 oil production would be insignificant at best.

Aaron Brand said...

My main point was that environmentalists point to the woes of offshore drilling, when there really aren't any. 2030 is probably a ceiling estimate, but even attempting something for 22 years from now is better than sitting on our hands hoping one of these alternative energy sources will pan out.

JMB said...

That's why we need political leadership on this issue. I mean these alternative energy sources can and will pan out, if we stop messing around with gimmicks like corn ethanol. Granted offshore drilling is far better than corn ethanol. However I think before we sign on to this we should do a compare/contrast analysis between this plan and others like the T. Boone Pickens plan.

Compare the short term benefits with the long term and see which has a better chance for success.

Our problem is instead of investing in the best possible solutions, we often throw good money after bad. Corn ethanol is a huge example of this, so if in fact Off-shore drilling is the best long term and short term solution to deal with this problem then let’s give it a go. If not…lets try not to repeat the same mistake we made with corn.

I'm not saying Off-shore drilling isn't an option; I'm just not sure if it's the best one.

I do agree with you on the environmentalists and I am for drilling in ANWAR.


Aaron Brand said...

I just saw that the House Republicans are pushing for an "All of the above" plan, where we give money to offshore drilling, wind power, nuclear, biofuels, and whatever else.

Unfortunately, it will probably fail. Not because it is a bad plan, but because someone(s) will try to fill it with pork belly issues, or it will get shot down because it doesn't give Congressmen the control they want by insisting on only one source of energy at a time.