Keep East Coast rig free


Haley Rea

Offshore oil drilling: holding back our economy

Tori Lowe

With the growth of knowledge came the growth of our population, the growth of our consumption, and the growth of our destruction. Species are meant to evolve and develop to be better fit for their environment, yet we being “superior” have taken it upon ourselves to do so at a rate that our environment cannot keep up. We have used our dominance to manipulate nature as we please, rarely considering the consequences because we are blinded by greed.

However, some of these crimes that have been “sought for decades” are now being contemplated on being placed off the coast of the small islands I call home and the ramifications that come from offshore drilling are too great of a risk for me to accept or allow. The government should be obligated to acknowledge the harm that could forced on my community and environment if they decide to go forward with their selfish plans to place offshore oil rigs on the “from Virginia to Georgia”.

The Outer Banks is the home of just under 35,000 people, but at its peak in the summer it accommodates for more than 250,000. As a result of this drastic increase in population the residents of these islands survive off of tourism, using the money profited in the summer to last through dormant winters. Almost every job relies on crowds of travelers who stimulate our economy even if it doesn’t directly affect them.

In 2013 alone the U.S. oil and gas industry was held responsible for 7,662 spills which is about 20 spills a day. With that tremendous rate of error the question is what will happen to the Outer Banks economy when our oil covered beaches and contaminated water doesn’t draw in the tourist that are needed? How will the residents be able to last through the stagnant winter without having the profits from the busy season? How could the men and women who are supposed to represent our best interest sell out and put us at such a risk? Haven’t we learned for disasters such as “the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010.” This is only the beginning, I haven’t even started to illustrate the annihilation of the environments that will come from oil rigs, both defective or not.

Before I go into detail about the horrors of an oil spill on the environment I want to state how even if these highly risky rigs function without a single error they can kill much of the aquatic wildlife with its seismic blasting. Seismic airguns are used while attaining oil and gas by causing explosions that search for deposits. These powerful blast happen every 10 seconds and destroys the aquatic environment it surrounds by displacing wildlife resulting in mating disruption, habitat abandonment, and beach strandings. By changing our delicate environment oil rigs are destroying what most residents have fought long and hard to protect not to mention the fact that the lack of fish would cause the fishing industry, a major factor of the Outer Bank’s economy, to suffer.

The livelihood of many Outer Banks residents depends on the ability to fish but with the seismic blast scaring away or killing the fish their jobs are put at risk. East coast fisheries play a vital role in the all of the economy, not just at the local level but will goes as far as to affect the national economy. The Many brave groups such as the Billfish foundation, Game Fish Association, Mid-Atlantic Fishery  Management Council, and the Southeast Fisheries Association have openly opposed seismic blasting to try to protect fish stock. In spite of the seismic blasts if an oil spill were to happen there would be no chance for the fish or other animals whose habitats line the East coast to endure such a loss.

An oil spill will kill the majority of animals and plants it touches as well as cause massive amounts of cleanup operations which will also endanger the remaining wildlife. Oil can affect organisms by internal exposure, external exposure, and smothering, all are almost always excruciatingly painful and deadly. Habitats that are destroyed can take long periods of time to be regenerated leaving the remaining plants and animals to relocate striping alway the last piece of nature that remains.

The devastation that would consume our economy and environment would be too much to come back from. These politicians that are dominated by selfishness put our home and the homes of many who live on the East coast in danger while they spout lies about these death machine will help our economy. It enrages me to think that we have allowed these people such power and they publicly abuse it for their own gain. They should consider all the factors that play a role in offshore drilling not just the “3.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil on the Atlantic outer continental shelf and 31.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas” because when re-elections come around they won’t have the trust or respect of their people.