DownsizeDCFoundation.org
August 3, 2008
Does drilling harm or help the environment?
By Perry Willis

Offshore platform.jpeg

Some environmentalists are now in favor of offshore drilling. Here's why . . .

"As pointed out by the National Research Council (NRC) of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, 'natural oil seeps contribute the highest amount of oil to the marine environment, accounting for 63% per cent of the annual load to the world's oceans. Although they are entirely natural, these seeps significantly alter the nature of nearby marine environments.'

"The largest natural oil and gas seeps in the Western Hemisphere lie in the Santa Barbara Channel. According to the California State Lands Commission,they comprise more than 1,200 of the over 2,000 active submarine seeps along the California coast. Half of these occur within three miles of an area called Coal Oil Point, located just west of Santa Barbara near the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus.

"It is estimated that oil seepage for a single 6-mile stretch, including Coal Oil Point, averages 10,000 gallons of oil each day (240 barrels). Every 12 months about 86,000 barrels of oil seep into the ocean—the equivalent of the quantity of oil spilled in the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara. Since 1970, the quantity of oil that naturally seeps into the Santa Barbara Channel equals ~ 31 “1969” oil spills.

"The natural seeps release more than 40 metric tons of reactive organic compounds (ROC) into the air every day. In the Air Pollution Control District (APCD) of Santa Barbara County 2007 Clean Air Plan, the ROC from these natural oil and gas seeps are identified as the greatest source of air pollution in the county significantly contributing to the formation of smog. The offshore natural seeps contribute approximately 6,075 tons per year of ROC to Santa Barbara’s air pollution - All transportation vehicles contribute about 4,000 tons."

What's the solution? Drilling! Why? Because it will reduce the pressure in underground oil and gas deposits and thereby reduce the natural seeps.

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