Oil in America
America has many problems with it’s environment. The facts are
clear that most corporations won’t take the blame for them. These companies try
to find ways out by stating that they are not the ones responsible for these
problems. They try to protect themselves from the mistakes they made in the oil
industry and the country. The facts are clear that there have been disasters in
the oil field industry in the past ten years and they stand out in history.
The article “Myths We Wouldn’t Miss”, by the Mobil Corporation,
states that there hasn’t been a major off shore oil disaster in past years.
That may be true and it tries to get Mobil out of a jam but the underlying fact
is that there have been oil spills and pollutants put into the environment and
that cannot be excused. There have been facts which prove that there have been
decreases in the fish population and in the aquatic life in the regions where
the oil companies have been. The negligence of these companies can be shown in
There have been many incidents in the oil field industry dating
back to January 28 1969, in Santa Barbara. This may have been a long time ago
but this was a disaster this country has never seen. On the 28 a well burst on
the Santa Barbara Channel. It “raged for ten days and killed 3
crewmen”.(Easton,10) There were major problems stopping this rig and no matter
what happened there was already enough damage done. On February 23, the well
erupted again. The environmental consequences were evident. As the oil spilled
down towards the south the numbers were staggering of how much oil actually was
pouring out into the ocean. By the month of march 3,000,000 gallons of oil
escaped into the ocean.(Easton,251) Here is where the story is corrupted by the
oil companies. Union Oil, the company responsible for this stated that their
facts “only showed 250,000 gallons”.(Easton,256) There were presidential tests
and discovered the oil company was wrong. The most damaging evidence to theses
oil companies was the discovery that was made when the government sent a diver
under the spill to investigate the well. The source showed that more oil leaked
than the oil company reported.
The environmental damage was horrible and it was a massacre of
much of the marine life in the area. The sea lion and seal population decreased
by 881 new sea lion pups.(Easton,256) The bird species in the area suffered the
most. 3,686 birds were found dead. The diving birds had the hardest time.
Going to the water was a hazard and they starved or was covered in the oiled
water. This problem will always be in the minds of the oil companies and those
who worked for them.
Another development which hurts the Mobil Companies statement is
the Argo Merchant spill in March of 1977. This accident took place on Nantucket
Island, Mass. The tanker went aground on a fishing rip and submerged part of
the rig.(Grose.iii) According to Grose “the tanker tried to correct itself but
it cracked in half and spilled 7,700,000 gallons into the water. This spill is
the largest spill in the history of the United States.”(Grose,vii) This set off
scientific activity which went on for a full year. There were some redeeming
factors about this spill. The wind prevented the oil from surfacing on the
beaches. The oil that was being transported was low density and did not
contaminate the bottom of the ocean.(Grose,356) As well as the spill happened
in the winter and the ecological damage was not as big as Santa Barbara or many
others. This spill did however, cover more area than most. The oil spread out
over large areas and did not cut off anywhere, it just spread and covered the
icy and watery surfaces. There was again deaths found in the birds of the area
but the mammals survived here. There was also a lower level of blood serum in
the shellfish and plankton, this makes for a bad crop and development in the
bottom feeders.(Grose,v) There is way out here for the oil companies because
there was not as much damage done to the environment. The oil companies can
breathe a little easier but the truth here is that there are too many disasters.
There was an Alaskan disaster which the Exxon company chooses
now to forget. On a morning in May,1989 the ship The Exxon Valdez was in Prince
William Sound and during the transport of the fuel there was a leak along the
pipeline. This gigantic strip of water and home to thousands of marine animals
was contaminated.(Wheelwright,11) This showed much of the world that the oil
industry was just accident prone. The damage caused here was irreversible.
There was an incredible cleanup effort it took months and up until now there
still has not been a total cleanup. This spill called for extreme cleanup
measures using vacuums to try to suck up the spill. But there happened to be
too much oil.
The marine life in this case like in every case suffered greatly
in this situation. The Sound houses thousand of lower marine life forms which
were destroyed because the environment could not give the proper nutrition to
these animals.(Wheelwright,23) The biggest loss is the crustacean population.
There was a decrease in the larvae that these creatures produce and it lowers
their reproduction. This stops our own food chain. These problems are
experienced by all of us.
The underlying fact is that there is plenty of evidence that not
only do these problems exist but they do cause major ecological disasters. The
fuel that was in the Argo which was No.2 fuel is low density. According to
sources it causes great amounts of toxicity.(Vaughan,2.1) The gases mix in the
water and make it hard for fish to breathe and reproduce. This also is a rapid
effect on the environment, it happens right away and doesn’t give us a chance to
clear it out of the water. It is said to even start a dilution period you need
96 hours after the spill before you can start to clean up the mess.(Vaughan2)But
besides the technical terms this problem affects our lives in a practical way.
The beaches are unsatisfactory to go on and our kids can’t appreciate the beauty
of this fine planet.
The Mobil Corporation stated that there wasn’t a major off shore
drilling incident. That is true. Most people don’t look more into the real
problem. The problem is not just in the offshore drilling. It is in the entire
oil and fuel industry. These companies realize the impact they have on the
public and realize they all need the business of the American public. The
companies act irresponsibly and do not use the appropriate machinery which is
not up to standard. In my own opinion these companies know the consequences of
using what they have. There is no excuse for the problems that they have.
Human error is not calculated right and there is a disaster. We know the kind
of damage that is done in the marine life. Why do we insist on doing this then?
Is there any other way to get the oil here and back? Why do the oil companies
also try to cover up for the damage that they have done?
The Mobil Corporation states it’s facts well. Every company
shows that their facts make sense and gets them out of any trouble that they
might be in. They have cited sources in research books and in the article
mentioned in the beginning. These sources are all well and good and they dug up
these facts to protect themselves from the truth. It is not something we can
pull out of by excuses, but by facing it head on and making it easier on our
planet and those who will be there for years to come.