After the Trump administration proposed allowing oil and gas exploration off the East Coast in January, the debate has largely focused on the potential harm to the Atlantic Ocean’s water quality and marine life.Sure, if there were a big spill near the mouth of the Bay, some might enter the mouth on the tides. However, net flow is outwards.
That is, after all, where any new oil rigs would sprout if the administration has its way.
But what about impacts to the Chesapeake Bay? Could the United State’s largest estuary — the subject of a federal and multi-state program centered on reducing nutrient and sediment pollution — be at risk?
Yes, say some of the Bay’s top scientists.
“I don’t think there are any places in the world where they have developed oil and gas where they have been able to avoid spills,” said Carl Hershner, director of the Center for Coastal Resources Management at the Virginia Institute for Marine Science.
The Bay’s inland location may not help to shield it from oil pollution. Its water is linked to that of the Atlantic, and the effects of an offshore oil spill could be shared with the Chesapeake, scientists say.
The five-year offshore leasing proposal calls for opening not only the length of the Atlantic Seaboard but also virtually all other U.S. coastal waters to oil and natural gas exploration and potential drilling. A final decision is expected this fall and could go into effect as early as 2019.An excellent argument for more fracking. Oil tight to the shale is not going to blow out under pressure. It has to be pumped out the hard way.
The administration argues that expanding offshore leasing opportunities could relieve some of the country’s dependence on foreign oil and pour billions of dollars into the economy. Offshore sources currently represent 18 percent of the domestic production of oil and 4 percent of natural gas.
Increased offshore oil production also could be an indirect boon to Bay restoration. Portions of federal receipts from offshore drilling flow into the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides matching grants to state and local governments, as well as funds to federal agencies to acquire land for public recreation and the protection of natural resources.
All of the governors in the Bay watershed’s coastal states — Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and New York — formally denounced the administration’s proposal. Keying in on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s public vow to nix Florida from consideration, several states have asked for the same treatment.
On the other hand, oil platforms make great fishing.
Wombat-socho is going Asian with "Rule 5 Sunday: Mariya Takeuchi".