Offshore Fossil Fuel Exploration and Development: A Review Of Some Concerns

April 26, 2018

Environmental activists have expressed strong opposition to all U.S. fossil fuels — offshore and onshore...  Every energy source has benefits and liabilities. The only sensible way to determine what our best energy choices are, is to do a comprehensive and objective  assessment  of  ALL  the pros and  cons of each option. Only then are we able to make an informed, science-based decision. This document is a contribution towards such an assessment.

This  paper  presents  some  different  perspectives  about  several  assertions  made  by NGOs in  the offshore fossil fuel debate. The focus is on North Carolina, which is estimated to have the largest offshore  natural  gas  and  oil  reserves  on  the  East  Coast.  We  begin  by  outlining  the  main  NGO concerns, and then follow that with a brief discussion of each item...

1.  Seismic surveying will result in serious ecological damage.
No, similar seismic surveys have resulted in no consequential environmental problems.

2.  An oil spill is inevitable.
For several reasons, an oil spill is extremely unlikely.

3.  Offshore drilling puts the vital coastal tourism industry at risk.
Offshore wind energy is a much greater threat to coastal tourism.
4.  More jobs will come from offshore wind energy than from offshore fossil fuels.
This is not likely to be true, but it is an irrelevant argument anyway.

5.  Professional NC fishermen oppose coastal fossil fuel exploration and development.
The NC Fisheries Association has officially endorsed offshore fossil fuel development.

6.  There isn’t enough oil and natural gas off the NC coast to justify the risk and the expense.
No one knows the true economics, which is why a seismic survey is needed.

7.  Drilling would result in some of the NC coast looking like Louisiana or Galveston, Texas.
Considerable federal, state and local regulations mean that would never happen.

8.  Revenue-sharing with the coastal States has not been approved.
It is very likely that such revenue-sharing will be approved by the Trump administration.

9.  Any oil and gas we discover will probably be exported anyway.
Some resources will undoubtedly be exported, and that’s good for our economy and our national security.

10. We have better U.S. energies available to us.
If we exclude all the energy options the NGOs have blackballed (e.g. nuclear), there are no better choices left.

11. We don’t need fossil fuels as we can live on 100% renewable energy sources.
This is a 100% impossible scenario for multiple technical and economic reasons.

12. To effectively combat climate change, fossil fuels need to stay in the ground.
This makes little sense as the NGOs’ energy plans do not truly combat climate change anyway.

The papaer is by John Droz, Jr., an independent physicist, an internationally known energy expert, and a NC resident. 

Read the entire paper at Wise Energy.


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