[Taxacom] Biodiversity and oil drilling on U.S. coasts

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Thu May 6 21:11:17 CDT 2010

Dear All,
       Recent events are complicating issues of politics, "national
security", and conservation of biodiversity.  It is perhaps fortuitous
for some (but not for the oil industry) that the Gulf of Mexico Oil
Spill occurred so soon after proposals that areas in the eastern Gulf
(off Florida) and along the southern Atlantic coast be opened for oil
drilling.  This now seems ill-advised on two fronts: (1) biodiversity
impacts; and coupled with (2) human impacts (given the density of human
populations along those southern coasts).             
        Of any of the recent possibilities for new drilling along the
U.S. coast, the only one that has any potential merit (in my opinion) is
along the northern Alaska coast.  I base this on two considerations:
(1) biodiversity in that region is relatively low compared to the
overall biodiversity along the Gulf of Mexico and southern U.S. Atlantic
coastal regions; and (2) the miniscule human impact along the northern
Alaska coast compared to millions being affected along the coast of the
U.S. from Texas to Virginia (and even coastal areas north of Virginia).             
       A majority of Alaskans actually approve of oil drilling on their
northern coast, although no doubt mostly for economic reasons, but this
seems to be the least harmful alternatives for new drilling if it must
occur at all.  Perhaps it can be done on a limited basis that balances
oil production (and "national security" issues), but still minimizes
environmental harm.  This now seems preferable to pushing an even more
undesirable expansion of oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico or off the
Atlantic coast.  If a compromise is inevitable, this seems to be the
least harmful to both biodiversity, as well as to a vast majority of
humans that would be impacted.
      -----Ken Kinman


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