Letter to the Editor
February 7, 2016
Drilling will harm SC coast even if there’s never a spill
For the sake of argument, let’s say that offshore drilling can be performed without leaks, spills or accidents. In that case, if drilling is allowed the following will — not might — occur:
Based on the number in the Gulf, about 75 oil-drilling platforms will be stationed off our coast. A large offshore deep-water platform burns about 300 gallons of diesel fuel an hour to power lights, HVAC, drill apparatus, computers and other amenities. Multiply that by 75 oil rigs, and you get 22,500 gallons of diesel fuel burned each hour.
The offshore rigs must be supplied from shore with drill pipe, casings, food, water, diesel fuel, personnel and garbage haul off. Based on the number of supply ships operating in the Gulf, we can estimate that 60 supply ships would do the trick. Such ships burn about 100 gallons of fuel an hour and are operating almost continually. That adds another 6,000 gallons per hour, for a total of 28,500 gallons of diesel being burned every hour of the day. I won’t even go into the amount of excess natural gas being burned from the rigs, through flaring.
To put all this in perspective, the average diesel-powered 18-wheeler burns 1.5 gallons of diesel fuel per hour while idling. So if you divide the number of gallons of diesel fuel (28,500) that will be burned as a result of offshore drilling by 1.5 gallons per hour that an 18-wheeler burns, you get the equivalent of 19,000 semis idling off our coast 24 hours per day. That is a lot of pollution being created.
Why do people flock to the beach in the summer? Because of the cool ocean breezes blowing in from the sea. If drilling is allowed, what will those breezes be carrying onshore for all of us to breathe? All that pollution containing ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter known to be carcinogenic. Not might. Will.