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
different fields.
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