The Benefits of Offshore Oil Drilling (?)

The topic that our next class will approach is oil drilling and the effects it has on our environment and biodiversity.

Typically, most people would agree that too much oil drilling would be devastating to the aquatic life and nearby waters due to oil spills killing off fish and basically causing the water to be inhabitable. Oil also contains unhealthy chemicals which could be released into the water, and through the food chain, eventually lead to deaths of much larger animals.

However, I stumbled across an article that actually insists on how oil drilling is actually an ecological upside: http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2014/10/so_it_turns_out_theres_an_ecol.html

It’s an opinion column, so the writer talks a lot about his opinion on climate change, preserving endangered species, etc. But he does bring up an interesting notion in that there is actually research showing how having skyscraper-sized oil rigs actually benefits the species living nearby it, as the number of species is higher if the location of their habitat is nearby an oil rig.

Apparently, the height of the oil rig is a good thing for an aquatic ecosystem. I found this very intriguing and counterintuitive because it just sounds so bizarre.

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11 Responses to “The Benefits of Offshore Oil Drilling (?)”

  1. The article you posted was really interesting and the thought of oil rigs as a means to promote biodiversity is a pro for oil drilling I have not heard about before. As with any major environmental decisions, even though there are pros and cons to a certain issue, such as oil drilling and fracking, these must be weighed. My main concern is that even though oil rigs can promote biodiversity, I’m not sure if it’s worth the risk of having the oil rig malfunction and leak toxins into the environment, killing off any biodiversity it attracted and supported in the first place. In my opinion, that risk just isn’t worth taking. My main opinion in this matter is that if we were able to find a renewable/sustainable source of energy and start investing money into starting that now, (even if it is just a small amount), we wouldn’t have such problems and fear risks that we take with allowing oil drilling to be okay in terms of health and environment. Oil drilling may be a short term solution, but finding a sustainable energy source would be the long term solution and eventually save us a lot of money and manpower in healthcare costs, fixing problems with environmental pollution and risk of extinction of endangered animals, as well as the money and energy that goes into oil drilling and heated emotions/efforts to fight against it raised as well. Let’s put our money, time, and resources into actually solving the problem, not just finding a way to avoid finding long term solutions and putting it off for future generations to deal with once we run out of oil.

  2. This was a really interesting piece, and in the beginning it actually felt to me like journalistic coverage. His summary of the study results and quotes from the lead author of the study read like background for a story on offshore drilling. Judging from the comments under the piece, though, his argument wasn’t very credible. He turned his attention from the study to historical appeals for bioengineering, but I think more recent and more relevant examples would have strengthened his case. In contrast, I felt like the author of this blog gave a more convincing and better-supported argument. She says that we should accept foods created through a specific fermentation process called synthetic bioengineering. The economic logic, supported with very specific examples, doesn’t stray from the point she’s arguing, and she does devote a section to the opposition. Like all opinion pieces, it’s not exactly fair, but it presented arguments that provoke reflection.

  3. You rises a interesting topic. It is interesting that some people think oil driller is not harmful for our environment. This article you post is a debate for people’s general comments.Commonly, environmentalist always advocate that oil is the bad thing for our earth, especially the oil drill happens that extremely bad for water bodies. I think both these two idea are not be wrong. First, oil drill really damage our water body. For example, after oil drilling, the water body could not be used for us any more. And, many ocean animals will die because of oil drill. However, the oil drill can promote the diversity of animals. This is innovate positive toward the oil drilling. I think the writer’s idea is convinced. The oil drill should really has this benefits. But, oil drilling also damaging our environment. So the most correct way should be both avoiding and letting oil drill happen. And, we need to balance these two instances that let the environment get the balanced beneficial.

  4. I enjoyed this piece, solely because it showed a different side to the oil drilling that is almost always in the news. I thought the piece did well saying that there is progress occurring, and that no matter what, human progress is going to effect nature in some way, for example when he talks about wind farms harming birds. So much of today’s media coverage is completely one sided and although I may not necessarily agree with what he wrote, I wish that there was more media out there like this. Media that does not make the issues, like oil drilling, seem like a horrendous thing, but explains the necessity of it, and why it is that way, and why we can’t change it so easily. I also think people need to understand that we are in a state of innovation, which means that things are changing, and they may not be good, but innovation means that we are currently in the process of change, hopefully for the good. I mean we didn’t go from the telegraph to the iPhone in one day.

  5. This article definitely up an idea that I have never thought about. In that case it is successful in grabbing my attention and push me to look further into this issue. I don’t know if I believe what he wrote is necessarily the best for the environment. Although these artificial reefs provide a new way to create a larger ecosystem, he does not bring up many of the negative side effects of these oil rigs. It is well reported that oil rigs leak into the ocean. Also, I would have liked more quotes/sources to verify this information. He says, “In a 15-year study, researchers found…,” however, he doesn’t give me the lead researcher’s name initially.

  6. I would definitely echo what others are saying about the credibility of the information he brings up in this piece. I’m not sure if what he’s saying is completely correct, but I think the overarching point is really powerful.

    There’s never just one side to an issue and, most of the time, there’s never even just two. This brings up the point that it’s not just about “is oil drilling good or bad,” but it brings up that there are many different aspects to off-shore drilling that you wouldn’t normally think about. Who would’ve thought that off-shore drilling would increase biodiversity and life? That in itself is a fascinating concept and I think there would probably be more like it around the issue, you know, things you wouldn’t generally consider to have a hand in the debate.

  7. This is an interesting piece and the author poses a great question: can manmade structures help save endangered species? However, the writer doesn’t spend long enough on any one topic to give a complete picture to the reader. He talks about problems with fishing, then quickly moves to climate change. He seems to applaud manmade structures and their benefit to wildlife, but later writes that wind and solar farms have actually been killing endangered species. Most importantly, he mentions the study of fish habitat, but does not detail any inferences the researchers made about why oil rigs have more fish around them and how this may benefit humans in the future. He also gives no identifying information about the study or the researchers, so it would be difficult for readers to find the study themselves. Overall, this piece seems to raise more questions than it answers. I don’t want to go so far as to say the article isn’t credible, but it seems to me that the author lacks thorough knowledge on the topic.

  8. I think the article uses over generalized language, which detracts from the persuasiveness of his opinion. An example of this arises in the very first stanza when the author states a scientific research project concluded in the finding that “oil platforms are fantastic for sea life”. When reporting a scientific finding the use of the word “fantastic” is inappropriate and has the result of being dissuading. I also think the piece has much to broad of a scope. The Author touches on the tragedy of the commons, names for god, bird deaths from wind farms, and the asian tiger in a very short article without adequate transition. The guy is all over the board and fails to make a persuasive argument with compelling evidence. The author also failed to mention the potential for these under water ecosystems to be completely destroyed in the case of an oil spill. If an oil spill did occur we wouldn’t want to have an ecosystem of species in close proximity to the spill.

  9. This article is an interesting study because it is written by a syndicated columnist. When reading opinion pieces, there are three kinds to look for.

    One is an “editorial,” these are written by the editorial board of a publication. The second is an “op-ed.” Many people think “op-ed” stands for opinion-editorial, but it’s actually used because these are the articles that would always appear on the page “opposite” the editorials. Op-eds are usually written by subject experts who are not journalists and the author’s credentials are included at the top or bottom of the piece.

    The third type of piece is a “column” like this one written by someone whose job is to write usually one or two pieces a week. These columnists are sometimes experts in a specific field and focus many of their columns on that topic, but are most often former reporters who have reached a level of respect within the field that they are given the opportunity to move away from writing just the straight news and start to inject their own opinion. Many columnists have known political leanings (i.e. they’re considered a “liberal” or “conservative” columnist) or have made a name for themselves advocating for a particular cause.

    In this case, Jonah Goldberg is a syndicated columnist (meaning papers across the country pay to publish his columns) who is known to be conservative and has worked at the American Enterprise Institute.

    There’s a huge difference, obviously, between being a reporter writing an article and a columnist writing a column. I explored the idea of “balance” a bit on this week’s other blog post, but suffice it to say that a columnist does not have as much of a duty to respect the opposing viewpoint.

    I find Goldberg’s comments about “subsidy-grubbing corporations” to be among the most dubious int his particular column, as oil subsidies are some of the biggest tax breaks in the US tax code, but I think that the piece does raise an interesting point that we don’t often look at. By challenging us to see the (perhaps unintended) consequences of deep sea drilling, Goldberg helps us develop a more complete understanding of the issue.

  10. As a person that has very limited knowledge on oil drilling, oil rigs, ecosystems, and fish farming, I found that this article was timely, relevant, and extremely easy to comprehend. I’m constantly paranoid/worried that we are excessively or over-using our natural resources and eventually we won’t have any natural resources left to abuse. This article soothes my fears a bit. I’m still unsure of how I feel about the amount of oil drilling we do OR the amount of time it takes to actually benefit an ecosystem (the 1000% statistic in the article was promising but I am still skeptical that more research on the sustainability of reefs/fish communities will show that the benefits are short-lived and the oil drilling is detrimental in the long run). Although this article had a specific view that supported the author’s views on off-shore drilling, I didn’t feel that he forced us to take his side–or any side for that matter. Ultimately, I liked the piece a lot.

  11. Since oil drilling is known to be environmentally hazardous, claiming that oil drilling is an “ecological upside” needs several highly credible sources and detailed specific information backing up this claim. The article “So it turns out there’s an ecological upside to offshore oil drilling” by Jonah Goldberg does a decent job of covering the issue, but leaves room for skepticism. When Goldberg says “According to Jeremy Claisse, the lead author of the study…” he does not specify what “study” he is referring to and does not explain. I am starting to see why putting one’s own opinion in their article can make the article seem biased, even if it may not be. This article feels biased to me since Goldberg keeps stating his opinion supporting oil drilling with little information about the cons of oil drilling. Without the cons, the pros do not seem as effective.

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