Sustainable Energy or Offshore Oil?: Will More Drilling Result in Lower Prices at the Pump?

Offshore Oil

In the year 2000 the number of federally leased oil wells increased a great deal but gas prices still continue to rise. Even though the number of drilling permits had increased 361% by 2007 gas prices have continued to spike years after the fact. The U.S. burns 21% more oil than it has, so even if the United States drilled every last drop of oil on U.S. shores or off its coasts it still wouldn’t result in lower gas prices because the U.S. simply burns more oil than it can drill.

More Oil Drilling Means More Oil Spills

Back when Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita hit it caused 124 offshore oil spills, which translates to 743,000 gallons of oil, 554,400 of that were gallons of crude oil and 189,000 were refined products. The worse global warming gets the greater the possibiity that large super storms like Hurricane Katrina and Rita will pose a threat and potentially be the main cause of offshore oil spills.

In 1998 Congress put into play the Outer Contential Shelf Moratorium, which would prevent the leasing of costal waters off of the Pacific and Atlantic coasts plus Alaska’s Bristol Bay for gas and oil dilling. Without this Moratorium our oceans and all species that reside in them would be put in danger because of seismic testing. This testing is done to locate oil and creates sounds that are 260 decimals, that’s twice the decimals of an ambulance siren. Exposure to decimals that high for oceanic creatures causes disorientation, beaching, and brain hemorraging as far as dolphins and whales go, and there are many other side effects for other creatures that live in the ocean. Not only does oil drilling put our ocean wild life in danger but it would also cause routine leakage of toxic drilling mud, production water, contaminants like mercury lead, cadmium, radium which is a radio active subtance, and excavation materials into the oceans. Along with this idea of offshore oil drilling comes with other industrial activity onshore that would release more toxic pollutants than the into the air we breathe.

Sustainable Energy Sources

Wind power, it’s the world’s fastest growing energy source. A wind farm today can generate as much energy as any conventional power plant but doesn’t release toxins like mercury, sulfur dioxide, and other pollutants as a result of global warming into the air. In 2007 Denmark recieved 19.7% of its electricty from wind power. Two ways we can harness the power of wind are wind turbines and Helix wind generators.

Wind Farm

Wind Farm

Solar power, harnessing the sun’s power can prove to be a great ally in combating global warming. The sun’s energy is free and can reduce our carbon footprint on the earth, There are already companies inplace that manufactor, supply, and install photovoltaic solar power solutions that deliver efficient and reliable alternatives to electricty. Using solar power generators, solar panels, and other ways to harness the sun’s energy can be help to remedy the effects of global warming and prevent future damage to the environment.

Quick Fixes Won’t Solve the Problem

Offshore oil drilling won’t fix the problem. It would take at least a decade to get new leases production ready and years before production could even start. So any postive effects if any on gas prices experienced from offshore oil drilling would be decades down the road before consumers actually saw it reflected in gas prices.

The price of crude oil is set on the global oil market which means that oil produced around the world will be sold at the same price. The U.S. wouldn’t get a discount just for drilling on U.S. soil, and for that reason it would be safe to say there wouldn’t be any correlation (or connection) between offshore oil drilling and lower gas prices. The number of oil drilling permits increased by 361% in 1999-2007 but that still hasn’t stopped gas prices from nearly doubling in the last decade. Sustainable energy sources are a much more logical solution for this current energy crisis and unlike offshore oil drilling it would benefit humans, wildlife, and the environment.

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