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Oil and the

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Anmol Toor

on 14 September 2013

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Transcript of Oil and the

Offshore Oil and its future in the Santa Barbara Coast
1963-Artificial Habitat in the Marine Environment

On July 2, 1958, the California Department of Fish and Game and the Western Oil and Gas Association entered into a 3-year agreement, by which the Department would observe and evaluate the effects of offshore oil drilling, including the effects on marine life of man-made structures and of depositing washed drill cuttings on the ocean floor. The main attention was to be focused on the degradation, if any, to the natural environment around the oil rigs.
Oil Platform Hazel

Built in 1958, the oil platform Hazel was the first to be examined in terms of its local marine environment. A team of biologist- divers surveyed the area prior to construction. After construction, the rig was observed for 29 months, with a total of 27 dives made. Several species of shelled organisms were seen feeding on hydrozoans around the rig structure. Thousands of nudibranchs, a soft shelled mollusk, and many similar species were depositing egg masses on the structural members of the tower. By 1959, two fish species, shiner perch and halfmoons, started to populate the area. They peaked almost 62,000 from 3,000, but eventually stabilized at 6,000.
Another platform called Hilda was also observed for roughly the same period of time and biologists found similar results. Several species of shelled organisms and fish populated the areas around the rigs. The majority of fish were on the younger side pointing to the possibility of the rigs being safety grounds before they reached maturity.
During the study, there was no evidence of deleterious effects from any part of the operation. The entire operation was very clean and the island and towers served to actually enhance the habitat. Many fish species had been attracted to the installations and a heavy encrustation of various organisms had developed on the structures. This encrustation includes such animals as kelp scallops, barnacles, and mussels and had added greatly to the available fish food.
1970-What Oil Does to the Ecology

This primary source is an article called “What Oil Does to the Ecology” written by Charles T. Mitchell, Einar K. Anderson, Laurence G. Jones, and Wheeler J. North in 1970, just after the Santa Barbara oil spill. This source includes information about the interactions between the environment and oil and the importance of the environmental history of a particular area. It successfully applies this information to two particular case histories and how the public perception and realities differ within the two cases.
In assessing the consequences of an oil spill of a particular area, it is important to know the background information and history of that area. If sufficient information exists, it is relatively easy to analyze scope of the negative changes caused by an oil spill. For example, corpses of small marine animals and birds may sometimes occur on beach drifts and after an oil spill, these areas may be soaked in crude oil and the lives lost may be mistaken by the cause of the oil spill. If this particular information did not exist, the consequences of the oil spill would have been incorrectly analyzed.
The article begins by discussing what the presence of oil does to an area and what the negative affects of it are. The first thing mentioned is that there are natural oil seepages in the ocean, although smaller in scale to spills caused by man, and that microbiological marine life thrives off of its chemical properties. This statement backs up the follow up argument that crude oil’s biggest environmental consequence isn’t chemical but more physical(crude oil is much less toxic than refined oil). The viscosity of crude oil affects marine life and birds and the water composition near beaches and coasts.
1996-Voter Initiative Measure A96
The previous two slides point to the idea that maybe offshore oil drilling isn't so treacherous to the environment. Studies show that several marine species thrive around oil drills drills such as Summerland, CA. The Santa Barbara Oil Spill was not nearly as harmful to the environment as people assumed because of the local oil seepages and it accustomed marine life.
However, On December 20, the Board of Supervisors of Santa Barbara County adopted a Comprehensive Plan to help slow down the production of offshore oil rigs. on March26, 1996, the Voter Initiative Measure A96 was implemented. This measure made sure that before any offshore oil rigs were constructed on the coast of Santa Barbara County, the voters of Santa Barbara would vote for approval of construction.
2011-Potential National-Level Benefits of Alaska OCS Development
This is a study done by Northern Economics and the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research to assess the economic benefits of offshore oil drills. Although this study is based on Alaskan oil drills in the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea, the structure of economics still applies to the Santa Barbara Coast.

The development of new oil and gas fields in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas will produce in nearly 10 billion barrels of oil and 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over the next 50 years which would create significant economic effects nationwide.
An estimated annual average of 54,700 to 68,000 new jobs will be created by OCS-related developments. These direct and indirect jobs will be created both in Alaska and the rest of the United States.
An estimated $63 billion in payroll would be paid to employees in Alaska as a result of OCS oil and gas development and another $82 billion in payroll would be paid to employees in the rest of the United States. The sustained job creation increases income and further stimulates domestic economic activity.
Domestic energy production is important for the security and prosperity of the United States. The money spent on domestic energy cycles through in the U.S. economy, thereby increasing domestic economic activity and jobs; while money spent on imported energy leaves the U.S. economy. Increasing domestic energy production would improve the nation’s trade balance.
2013-Should the U.S. Expand Offshore Oil Drilling?
This article, from the the Wall Street Journal, displays two different arguments from two diferent people.
Tyler Priest, a history professor from the University of Iowa, argues that the US should increase offshore oil drilling. He states that to help demand and limit reliance on imports, United States will need to increase exploration for offshore oil. He admits that there are risks involved in oil drilling but they are over exaggerated and the benefits understated. Priest points out that there are improved techniques to drill in deeper waters and that these techniques also improve safety. Priest also argues that oil drills improve local economies and create jobs f those local cities. Priest's final statement is if oil doesn't come from US drilling platforms, it will come from foreign waters that don't implement the same safety precautions and increase America's reliability on foreign oil.
Cindy Zipf, the executive director of Clean Ocean Action Inc. makes the case against increased oil drilling in the US. Zipf argues that the United States' demand for oil is at a 15-year low and that it will continue to decrease with the production of of more fuel efficient vehicles. She also states that due to seismic surveys, increased oil drilling will cause harm to the environment. Zipf argues that oil drills only temporarily provide jobs to coastal cities. Once they are depleted, these jobs wil disappear. She explains that offshore drilling yields too little benefit at too great a cost to coastal communities, their economies and the environment. Instead she believes we should be investing in smarter energy.
When it comes to energy in the US, a big question is whether or not investments in the quest for offshore oil should increase. Are their major environmental risks, and if so what are they? Would it be worth taking that risk and would the benefits outweigh them? The residents of Santa Barbara, California are all too well familiar with these questions but most are unaware of the answers. When trying to understand a topic and potentially predict its future, it is important to familiarize oneself with its historical aspects. I’ve chosen five primary sources to help better understand this topic. After studying these sources, I believe one can, if not answer, better understand and speculate what might become of the offshore oil industry, particularly in the Santa Barbara Coast.
After studying these five primary sources, one can see that there are many factors that make people decide on this topic of offshore oil drilling. In Santa Barbara, studies have shown that environmental impacts of offshore oil drilling are sometimes over-exaggerated, and that the public will always overlook this fact because of major oil spills, such as the one in Santa Barbara in 1969. However, it is also important to understand what offshore oil drilling can do for the economy. Summerfield and Alaska are just two of the beneficiaries I mentioned. However, as we saw from Priest’s and Zipf’s debate, the benefits and consequences will always be in flux. It's clear to me that the improved technologies to extract oil from below the sea floor are driven by those environmentally concerned over the past decades and political pressures applied to industry to clean up it's act. It seems to me that there has been a relatively nice balance between concerns driving for profit and energy and those of better stewardship and cleaner environment, however that balance is a dynamic one and always in flux. Fossil fuel is energy dense and a major current piece in improving our economy and moving toward energy independence, which will benefit the US both economically and politically. I am in favor of increased offshore drilling as well as the research for renewable energies.
Carlisle, John G. "Sorry, Your Browser Doesn't Support Frames..." Artificial Habitat in the Marine Environment. Calisphere University of California, 1964. Web. <http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt929006q1>.
What Oil Does to Ecology Charles T. Mitchell, Einar K. Anderson, Laurence G. Jones and Wheeler J. North Journal (Water Pollution Control Federation) , Vol. 42, No. 5, Part I (May, 1970), pp. 812-818 Published by: Water Environment Federation Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25036570
Voter Initiative Measure A96, http://longrange.sbcountyplanning.org/programs/genplanreformat/PDFdocs/GPResos/LUE/1996/96-341.pdf
Potential National-Level Benefits of Alaska OCS Development, http://www.northerneconomics.com/pdfs/ShellOCS/National%20Effects%20Report%20FINAL.pdf
"Should the U.S. Expand Offshore Oil Drilling?." Wall Street Journal. n. page. Web. <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324020504578398610851042612.html>.
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