Ethics And The Environment/Deepwater Drilling

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It was Socrates that said “before acting, a person ought to consider the arguments for and against various alternatives and, disregarding the opinions of the many; he should be guided by reason.” When I started this essay, I felt strongly that utilitarian philosophers would be against the option of drilling for oil in shallow waters. It is said that deepwater drilling is preferred over shallow water drilling to preserve the environment and the economy of tourism closer to our shores. Utilitarian philosophers could base their argument on the fact that utilitarianism is based upon the principle that an action is morally right if it produces a greater quantity of good or happiness than any other possible action. Out of the two options, deep vs. shallow water drilling, the one that is better for the environment (deepwater drilling) would seem to be the morally correct decision. But nothing is quite that simple. Any type of offshore oil drilling disrupts the animal and fish life of the region. Oil waste dumping, production pollution, and spills wreak havoc on the surrounding wildlife and habitats. Oil spills can interfere with the normal operations of power stations and that require a continuous supply of clean seawater and with the safe operation of coastal industries and ports. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, deep water drilling practices are on the rise because it is considered one of the last frontiers in oil exploration. They go on to say that the only reason anyone is willing to drill in deepwater with the depths, temperatures, and other significant technical challenges is that other opportunities are closing as our shallow water oil resources are already well on their way to becoming depleted. Germain Grisez points out that “utilitarianism holds it possible to add together the good effects of an action and subtract its bad effects.” He goes
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