[Coral-List] Help Ban Oil Exploration

Ed Blume eblume2702 at gmail.com
Tue May 3 11:15:56 EDT 2011

On the topic of tankers, Belize has no petroleum refinery.  Consequently,
any crude pumped from new wells will be sent (by pipeline, I presume) to a
central terminal (possibly on land, possibly in the sea) where it will be
loaded onto tankers and taken to a refinery from where the gasoline and
other refined products would be distributed to points near and far.  The
environmental implications of drilling are not restricted to drilling.

David references Louisiana; *Bayou Farewell* gives a lay person's view of
oil industry practices that contribute to the erosion of 25 sq. miles of
bayou per year.

The Belize reefs will certainly continue "to receive ongoing impacts."  It
would seem unwise to add an impact like oil exploration and drilling when
the amount of oil will likely be minimal in the scope of the world's

David asks, "Is the limited and temporary benefit from petro-dollars worth
the potential wider and longer-term effects of such an event?"  I'd say the
answer is "no."

Ed Blume
Madison, WI

On Tue, May 3, 2011 at 9:12 AM, David M. Lawrence <dave at fuzzo.com> wrote:

> When talking about tanker losses in World War II, let's make sure we are
> comparing apples to apples.  When we compare all the oil dumped in an
> entire ocean basin to the amount of oil released in a fairly limited
> area from a Deepwater Horizon-like disaster, it seems the deck is
> unfairly stacked to make those concerned about drilling look like
> "greenie-weenies" out of touch with reality.  The fact is a lot of other
> factors besides volume of oil determine the severity of a disaster.
> Having grown up in Louisiana and seeing a lot of drilling and extraction
> activity up close, there are a lot of adverse effects from petroleum
> exploration.  It might not look all that bad -- especially to those
> whose only frame of reference is a landscape (and seascape) already
> affected by the oil industry -- but the adverse effects are there
> nonetheless.
> I'm skeptical of the benefits of oil exploration to the economies of
> developing nations, too.  Extractive industries have a pretty lousy
> record of promoting long-term economic growth.  They so a good job of
> extracting as much of whatever resource they target, take their money
> elsewhere, and leave a permanently changed (arguably damaged) landscape
> behind.  It's not a terribly sustainable model, and there is rarely
> incentive for industry to invest in preparing the "host" community for
> survival after the industry is gone.
> Whether or not the coral reefs would recover from an oil disaster,
> industries that depend on them -- like Belize's tourist industry --
> might not.  Personally, I'd hate to see what would happen to Virginia
> Beach's Strand after a big oil disaster coats the beach in black goo.  I
> don't think anyone has done an adequate risk assessment of all the
> effects of such a disaster on local and regional economies affected by
> it.  Is the limited and temporary benefit from petro-dollars worth the
> potential wider and longer-term effects of such an event?
> I would love to see that data some day.
> Dave
> On 5/2/2011 4:06 PM, Greg Challenger wrote:
> >
> > Steve:
> >
> > Ill let Gene defend himself but here is my take.  Offshore drilling "may"
> lead to environmental disaster.   My reading of the post by Gene is that he
> felt the risks should be weighed against the potential upside before stating
> absolutes.  To me it was the comments "will lead to disaster" and "never
> recover" that deserve some discussion.   In my opinion, these sorts of
> statements dont do the environmental cause much good and only give
> ammunition to the opposition in that they can find evidence to easily refute
> the statements without getting to the heart of the matter...real risks to
> Belize corals and peoples.  Many areas with drilling have never experienced
> an environmental disaster.  The volumes of oil dumped and spilled in the sea
> in WWII outweigh all combined other anthropogenic point sources in the past
> century by quite a bit (see 2003 paper by Jacqui Michel from International
> Oil Spill Conference), and yet I dont believe it is possible to find a place
> that will "never r
>  ecover", unless an area continues to receive ongoing impacts that dont
> allow it to recover. I have seen some oil exploration areas that could
> conceivably fit this bill.   I didnt see any real embellished distortions
> other than getting the tanker thing wrong, which really isnt an embellished
> distortion at all relative to the issue at hand. While you are 100% correct
> that seeps are the biggest sources followed by land runoff, tankers are the
> largest anthropogenic point source  (i.e., disaster).   Since we are talking
> about risk of disaster from man's activities, then tankers and cargo vessels
> are indeed the number one cause since runoff and seeps arent typically
> considered part of a disaster scenario.  Oil spilled in the marine
> environment is a tragedy...it kills things....but a statement to the effect
> that drilling "will result in disaster" from which we can "never recover"
> deserves refutation.  As you can see, saying things like this takes people
> off track (as it did here) f
>  rom the important issues like proper evaluation and careful consideration
> of the potential impacts, both environmental and economic.  That said, I
> understand that these comments can serve a purpose...we have to know where
> the left and right side of the road are located so we can safely drive down
> the middle.
> >
> > I know people think Im a fan of fossil fuel because I have a financial
> interest in my clients' oil spills, but frankly I hope I never work on
> another oil spill the rest of my life (I do other stuff as well).
> >
> > Best regards,
> >
> >
> > Greg E. Challenger
> > Marine Scientist/Principal
> > Polaris Applied Sciences, Incorporated
> > 12525 131st Ct NE Kirkland, WA 98034
> > 425-823-4841
> > 425-823-3805 fx
> > 206-369-5686 cell
> > visit us at: www.polarisappliedsciences.com
> >
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------
>  David M. Lawrence        | Home:  (804) 559-9786
>  7471 Brook Way Court     | Fax:   (804) 559-9787
>  Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | Email: dave at fuzzo.com
>  USA                      | http:  http://fuzzo.com
> ------------------------------------------------------
> "All drains lead to the ocean."  -- Gill, Finding Nemo
> "We have met the enemy and he is us."  -- Pogo
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>  4/17 of a haiku"  --  Richard Brautigan
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