Long-Term Environmental Effects of Offshore Oil and Gas Development

By Donald F. Boesch; Nancy N. Rabalais | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 13

PHYSICAL ALTERATION OF MARINE AND COASTAL HABITATS RESULTING FROM OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
Donald F. Boesch and Gordon A. Robilliard
CONTENTS
Introduction ........................................................................... 619
Offshore Environments ............................................................. 620
Effects of Structures .............................................................. 620
Effects of Drill Cuttings ......................................................... 623
Effects of Artificial Islands ..................................................... 623
Effects of Pipelines ............................................................... 624
Coastal Environments .............................................................. 626
General Considerations ......................................................... 626
Gulf of Mexico .................................................................... 627
Pipeline Crossings .............................................................. 629
Navigation Channels .......................................................... 631
Supply and Service Bases .................................................... 636
Subsidence ....................................................................... 636
Interaction of Coastal Alterations ......................................... 637
Effects on Living Resources ................................................ 639
Undeveloped Regions of the Gulf of Mexico .......................... 641
Atlantic Coast ...................................................................... 641
Pacific Coast ....................................................................... 642
Alaska ................................................................................ 642
Conclusions and Recommendations ............................................. 645

INTRODUCTION

Concerns regarding the environmental effects of offshore oil and gas development typically focus on pollutants, either resulting from an oil spill or routine discharges from drilling or production. Frequently overlooked, but potentially much longer lasting, are effects resulting from the physical destruction or alteration of marine or coastal habitats to accommodate exploration, development, production or transportation. In this context, it is significant to note that in Louisiana, the most heavily developed offshore petroleum region in the world,

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