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Water Health Educator

Promoting advocacy for access to clean water

Global: Offshore Drilling

The Harmful Impacts of Offshore Drilling on Wildlife and Humans

By Grace Snyder

Offshore drilling is extremely harmful to humans and to wildlife as it increases deaths and injuries to humans and speeds up climate change. There are many risks from offshore drilling, such as deaths of workers caused by oil rig explosions, fires, or other severe accidents. For instance, Deepwater Horizon was an oil spill that resulted in an oil rig explosion, causing injuries, deaths, and many other serious results from the explosion.

“The BP Deepwater Horizon disaster should remind us that the benefits of drilling do not outweigh the threat to local economies, public health, and the environment when an inevitable spill occurs” (O’Malley 1). Oil rig explosions and/or spills can seriously damage and completely destroy habitats of various species of wildlife (O’Malley 1). “Opponents of offshore drilling have jumped on the spill as evidence that offshore drilling is inherently dangerous, and not worth the risk” (Bailey 1). In conclusion, offshore drilling and oil extraction is dangerous, and harmful to both wildlife and humans.

Additionally, offshore drilling has had a direct impact on speeding up climate change. Climate change can affect both humans and wildlife largely, as temperatures and climates are constantly changing. Offshore drilling and oil extractions release fossil fuel emissions, such as greenhouse gases, can then cause climate change. Temperatures are rising in nearly every country on the planet.

“Fossil fuel emissions are the leading source of climate-altering greenhouse gases from human activity” (“Fracking is Harmful” 1). For example, colder places like the South Pole are beginning to melt, therefore causing a disturbance in the environment of arctic animals such as polar bears and penguins. In other parts of the world, countries are experiencing excessive heat waves, which disrupts the life of animals and humans. “The threat of climate change is real and immediate. Expanding offshore drilling is irreconcilable with the realities of climate science...” (O’Malley 2). Air pollution, water pollution, oil spills, and greenhouse gases cause extreme effects on the Earth and the environment around it, therefore destroying the quality of life for both animals and humans.

Works Cited

Bailey, Ronald. "Offshore Drilling Remains a Risk Worth Taking." Oil Spills, edited by Tamara Thompson, Greenhaven Press, 2014. Current Controversies. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, Accessed 12 July 2020. Originally published as "Weighing the Benefits & Costs of Offshore Drilling," Reason Foundation, 4 May 2010.

"Fracking Is Harmful to the Environment." The Environment, edited by Lynn M. Zott, Greenhaven Press, 2014. Opposing Viewpoints. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, Accessed 13 July 2020. Originally published as "Fracking, Climate Change, and the Water Crisis," Issue Brief, Sept. 2012.

O'Malley, Martin. "Don't Drill Along the East Coast." New York Times, 2 Feb. 2015, p. A19(L). Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, Accessed 12 July 2020.