After the United States’ Interior Department released a draft proposal to access federal waters in 2015, the offshore oil drilling plans were urged to be put on hold in the Atlantic due to the dangers it might pose for the coast and the environment.
Following the draft proposal, fourteen new major areas were leased for offshore drilling, the Gulf of New Mexico receiving ten of them and Alaska receiving three. The last area to be leased was off the coast of the Atlantic, for the first time.
The Atlantic plan was proposed because of the information that a research group from the National Ocean Industries Association stating that approximately 1.34 million barrels of oil a day could be gathered if allowed access to these waters. These numbers would be reached if the company would have access to the Atlantic basin until the year 2035.
But the group known as Oceana, a group focused on ocean advocacy, along with several coastal leaders, has proposed the withdrawal of the proposition due to the impacts to both the economy of the region and the environment as a whole that offshore drilling will have.
The 95 billion dollars in domestic income, coming from 1.4 million jobs along the coast, will be put in danger or even destroyed if offshore drilling will be approved for the coming years. This is because these jobs rely heavily on a healthy ocean environment to thrive due to their association to tourism, recreation and fishing.
If an accident similar to the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster that happen recently would occur near the coast of the Atlantic it would not only put businesses that are located on the coast and the immediate environment, the whole planet would be at risk, depending on the magnitude of the accident. But even small regular oil leaks would most likely put an end to fishing in that area.
Considering that the Atlantic will only add about 4% to the national oil and gas resource income, endangering the whole coast for this measly sum is a massive mistake and the plans should be put on hold immediately. Even though the company which plans to build there already supports 140.000 jobs in the Virginia area and over 7 billion dollars are added yearly to the state’s total income, the catastrophic impact that this drilling will have to the environment trumps everything.
As the offshore oil drilling plans were urged to be put on hold, making the White House carefully consider if allowing this plan to continue is worth the risk of endangering both the community and the environment, the leaders and people residing along the coast of the Atlantic can do nothing but wait.