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Pangloss

Offshore Drilling & International Shipping Pollution

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The Wall Street Journal had an interesting piece today about how much things have changed regarding off-shore drilling. Editor Andrew Cline of the New Hampshire Union Leader makes the claim that drilling is largely safe, and supports this with some numbers, and also an interesting turnaround by an anti-offshore drilling environmental group that now supports drilling off the coast of California.

 

When an environmental group formed for the sole purpose of opposing offshore oil drilling warmly embraces a plan to drill off its own coast, you know something important has changed in our culture: Americans have recognized that offshore oil drilling is largely safe.

 

 

The numbers he brings up are intruiging.

 

Since 1975, drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (within 200 miles of the U.S. coast) has had a 99.999% safety record, according to the Energy Information Administration, which reports that "only .001 percent of the oil produced has been spilled."

 

 

This next bit is really a sidebar, since it doesn't in itself say anything about the safety of such drilling, I was just stunned by sheer size of these pollution numbers, which the author was misleadingly using to justify offshore drilling (though I thought his other points were valid).

 

The vast majority of the oil that finds its way into the sea comes from dry land, NASA found. Runoff from cities, roads, industrial sites and garages deposits 363 million gallons into the sea, making runoff by far the single largest source of oil pollution in the oceans. "Every year oily road runoff from a city of 5 million could contain as much oil as one large tanker spill," notes the Smithsonian exhibit, "Ocean Planet."

 

The second-largest source of ocean oil pollution was routine ship maintenance, accountable for 137 million gallons a year, NASA found -- more than 2.5 times the amount that comes from tanker spills and offshore drilling combined. But no one is proposing that we ban cargo and cruise ships.

 

Holy cow. Maybe we SHOULD be taking a look at international shipping, which is notoriously difficult to regulate. Yeesh.

 

Link to the article:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121581714417147413.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

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Every other country on the planet with offshore oil is successfully drilling it.

 

Why all the concern in the USA? It seems a very odd thing to be so hyper sensitive about.

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Why all the concern in the USA? It seems a very odd thing to be so hyper sensitive about.
Our media loves to tie fears together so they can turn minor stories into major ones, and major stories into super-duper major ones. Most Americans who hear stories about tanker spills are also invited to read about a storm path threatening an offshore oil rig. The comparisons are inevitably made and average Joe Reader makes assumptions that ensure he'll be glued to the next story about oil and tankers and rigs... oh my!

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Thirty and forty years ago the concerns over pollution from the offshore drilling process were minimal. The objections to the offshore drilling process were based upon that cavalier attitude of the oil companies and their contractors. The change has been almost one hundred and eighty degrees.

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Every other country on the planet with offshore oil is successfully drilling it.

 

Why all the concern in the USA? It seems a very odd thing to be so hyper sensitive about.

 

risk. risk to the environment. risk to a state due to tourism. risk to beach front property owners. Same reasons people want nuclear power, but not in their back yard

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Same reasons people want nuclear power, but not in their back yard

 

I'd be perfectly happy with a nuclear power plant in my backyard (in fact the town I live in has Rocky Flats, one of the most contaminated nuclear sites in the country, some 5 miles away)

 

An oil rig... not so much

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risk. risk to the environment. risk to a state due to tourism. risk to beach front property owners. Same reasons people want nuclear power, but not in their back yard

 

 

I'd be perfectly happy to see off shore oil drilling in my 'back yard.'

 

You talk of 'risk'. Oil has been drilled off shore for decades off the coast of my nation. I've yet to see any impact on beach front property owners, tourism or the environment. What i have seen is a reliable supply of energy, an huge economic boost and a generally hugely impressive example of mans mastery of the most extreme environments.

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So, are you suggesting that because you've not personally witnessed impacts or realization of risks that there are none? That's quite a leap of illogic if true.

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So, are you suggesting that because you've not personally witnessed impacts or realization of risks that there are none? That's quite a leap of illogic if true.

 

Good thing i'm not suggesting that then:rolleyes:

 

 

What i am suggesting is that off shore drilling has been carrying on for several decades in a very intensive fashion off the coast of Britain and these 'impacts or realisation of risks' have not arisen.

 

Off shore oil rigs have proven to be a cleaner way of getting oil than having it imported by ship. It's also been hugely economically beneficial.

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So, are you suggesting that because you've not personally witnessed impacts or realization of risks that there are none? That's quite a leap of illogic if true.

 

How come you didn't say that to Bascule when he said he'd be fine with a nuclear power plant in his back yard, iNow?

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What i am suggesting is that off shore drilling has been carrying on for several decades in a very intensive fashion off the coast of Britain and these 'impacts or realisation of risks' have not arisen.

 

Off shore oil rigs have proven to be a cleaner way of getting oil than having it imported by ship.

What about getting it from "off shore" to "shore?"

Also, what happens when you burn it after it's arrived on shore?

 

I encourage everyone to avoid such myopia when reviewing risks of this approach.

 

 

How come you didn't say that to Bascule when he said he'd be fine with a nuclear power plant in his back yard, iNow?

 

Where did Bascule say there were no impacts, or that he'd never seen any?

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How come you didn't say that to Bascule when he said he'd be fine with a nuclear power plant in his back yard, iNow?

 

While I'd be fine with a nuclear power plant in my backyard, my statements were specifically about shipments of nuclear waste going by my house, having seen this:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-o8haMIVcL8

 

If the shipping casks can survive an impact from a ROCKET POWERED LOCOMOTIVE travelling at 84 MPH and a 90 minute fire, I feel fairly confident the risks of spilling nuclear waste in transport are fairly minimal.

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Where did Bascule say there were no impacts, or that he'd never seen any?

 

Oh, I didn't say you were wrong to challenge Aardvark on that point.

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What about getting it from "off shore" to "shore?"

 

The oil is pumped in pipes from the oil rigs to oil refineries on land. No need to load up tankers with all the resultant risks. Much cleaner and safer that way.

 

Also, what happens when you burn it after it's arrived on shore?

 

Then it turns into magical fairy dust of course :rolleyes:

 

I encourage everyone to avoid such myopia when reviewing risks of this approach.

 

You are the one who is demonstrating a lack of understanding here.

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The oil is pumped in pipes from the oil rigs to oil refineries on land.

Thanks for sharing that with me. I didn't know, which is why I asked.

 

 

You are the one who is demonstrating a lack of understanding here.

Besides asking how it got to shore, can you please explain where you think my lack of understanding exists? Perhaps an example or two to support your assertion?

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Besides asking how it got to shore, can you please explain where you think my lack of understanding exists? Perhaps an example or two to support your assertion?

 

You demonstrated lack of understanding when you suggested that i showed 'myopia' in expressing an opinion on a subject that you, in fact, were ignorant of whereas i infact do have relevant knowledge.

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You demonstrated lack of understanding when you suggested that i showed 'myopia' in expressing an opinion on a subject that you, in fact, were ignorant of whereas i infact do have relevant knowledge.

 

Well, no. I was suggesting it's myopic to limit our definition of "risk" to spills. I wasn't questioning your knowledge, I was questioning the parameters of your risk assessment.

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Well, no. I was suggesting it's myopic to limit our definition of "risk" to spills. I wasn't questioning your knowledge, I was questioning the parameters of your risk assessment.

 

In which case the 'risk' from off shore oil is exactly the same as the 'risk' from oil pumped on land and oil shipped in from abroad, making any particular singling out of off shore oil for attention irrational.

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When did I single out offshore drilling? The whole thrust of my comment on a myopic risk assessment is the knowledge that any burning of carbon based fuel will have a deleterious effect globally, regardless of source.

 

You could drill for oil wherever it is... You still have to burn it, and that burning should be calculated as part of the risk.

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When did I single out offshore drilling? The whole thrust of my comment on a myopic risk assessment is the knowledge that any burning of carbon based fuel will have a deleterious effect globally, regardless of source.

 

You could drill for oil wherever it is... You still have to burn it, and that burning should be calculated as part of the risk.

 

 

This is a thread specifically about off shore drilling of oil. If you want to broaden the discussion into the rights and wrongs of burning oil at all then fine, but i think we'll need a different thread.

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This is a thread specifically about off shore drilling of oil. If you want to broaden the discussion into the rights and wrongs of burning oil at all then fine, but i think we'll need a different thread.

 

Actually, this thread is about the safety of drilling and the pollution resulting from it, so my expansion of the scope of risk to burning the oil is more than relevant.

 

It won't really matter much, anyway. The governor of California won't allow drilling off their shores.

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There is oil off other States than just California.

 

If a recession does start to bite then you might see more people start to look more favourably on the idea of drilling in their States waters. It brings a lot of good jobs with it.

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Not as many jobs as the new manufacturing of renewables would. ;)

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Not as many jobs as the new manufacturing of renewables would. ;)

 

Actually, the oil jobs would be better. They are the result of real creation of wealth. Lots of extra, highly skilled jobs are created by off shore oil drilling.

 

Renewable energy jobs tend to need large subsidies. they might be good from an environmental perspective, but from an economic perspective, oil is still best.

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Um, can't we do both? If the price of gas isn't coming down substantially ever again, there will remain more than adequate motivation for alternative fuels. So drill, but keep going with the development of plug-in hybrids and everything else.

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