Sunday, July 27, 2014

Seismic testing and oil drilling off the EC. Are the benefits worth the risks

I was extremely disappointed last week to hear that the government has decided to allow seismic testing off of the east coast to determine if there are enough deposits of oil to make drilling feasible.

Lets say for argument sakes that I agree with the oil companies that in the long term many jobs will be created and that oil production off our coasts will bring us oil independence and prosperity. Sure jobs are important and so is economic security but at what cost.

In the case of seismic testing and oil drilling off our coasts is concerned I'm not at all convinced it is worth the cost for a number of reasons:

First of all I think we are best served by looking for cleaner and more environmentally friendly sources of energy than by continuing to depend largely on oil as a main source of energy I feel we are only putting off the inevitable and pushing back the development of other energy sources.

In addition, whatever oil is found and put into production is years off and the financial impact is limited considering the number of jobs produced and I am concerned that what dollars do flow into the economy will not answer our economic problems to any great degree.

So when I consider the potential risks associated with the process I really don't see the value. It is estimated by the government that over 150,000 marine mammals will die from the seismic testing
activities alone. The deaths to those creatures especially the dolphins, whales and turtle will most likely be extremely painful ones. And while 150,000 deaths is the governments estimate the numbers suggested by experts suggest the number could be double that.

People especially children get freaked out when the see a single one of those creatures washed up on shore dead so imagine how they will feel when they wash up in great numbers. Hopefully they will be horrified and cry for a stop to the process.

I spent most of me career within the insurance industry and I fully buy into the theory of Murphy's law that suggests that despite our best efforts accidents will happen. I have seen cases and cases of it over the years that have created both small and large disasters. Take for example the Exxon Valdese and the BP disaster in the Gulf. As such, If we produce oil in the Atlantic we surely can expect a disaster at some point in time even if everyone is following all of the rules which as we know doesn't always happen.

My daughter is a zoologist and has been asked by the zoo she works at to be their representative for an emergency response team to be trained to handle the injuries to animals should a disaster take place. The fact that they are setting up such a team, which by the way is responsible, suggests that they are expecting a disaster could occur.

Lastly, the cities along our coastlines depend on tourism to keep their economies strong. We have seen how the BP Horizon spill effected the Gulf region in terms of tourism, health and fishing as well as the subsequent economic impact. Generally, families vacation at the same local year after year and if a disaster occurs and they are forced to vacation someplace else they generally don't return to their original spot.

So for me, I can't support Seismic testing and will let my voice be heard in opposition and if you agree then I suggest you let your voice be heard. Conversely, if you don't agree with me then that is your right but I just ask that you also consider all of the pro's and con's before you speak out in favor of it.

Thanks for checking in and hearing me out. Aloha, Paul

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