Wednesday, April 3, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Page: 8

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Text Content of Page 8 of Cedar Rapids Gazette on Wednesday, April 3, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - April 3, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 4A The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Wed., April 3, 1974 Oil Companies Lured by Waters Off East Coast BOSTON (AP) — The waters off the East Coast are the domain of fishermen, seagulls and weekend sailors now, but petroleum companies are quietly working to raise oil rigs above the waves. Encouraged by federal estimates of huge deposits of oil and gas just off the New England and Mid-Atlantic states, the companies are putting together a timetable for going out and getting it. “I would presently estimate that the time before peak production occurs from the first leases issued off the Atlantic Coast would be eight to IO years,” said Jack Earnest, director of North American operations for Mobil Oil Corp. “If leases are issued in 1977, this would mean peak production in the mid ’80s.” But before this can happen, there will be years of court fights, studies and exploration. some state officials say they doubt they’ll win. Environmentalists are wary of the whole idea of turning fishing grounds into oil fields. They want assurances it will be safe. “We’re trying to make sure the standards are set before the leases are granted.” said Wilma Frev, head of the New England chapter of the Sierra Club. “If the spills that happened in the past wouldn’t happen here, I think drilling could be done. But the technology has not been worked out. The safeguards are not available.” stake. The tourist industry is one of the biggest in Massachusetts, and we can’t take any kind of chance. If Cape Cod was to suffer any kind of oil dis-aster, the relation of the place would be hurt for years. “It’s irrational to ask us to stand the risk so someone can 1 drive an excessive-horsepower automobile in Ohio.” Even though drilling is still several years off along the U.S. j East Coast. Canadians have been allowing it in their Atlantic waters since 1967. Spill Worry Environmentalists are worried about the possibility of oil spills Some coastal residents complain there’s nothing in it for them. And geologists aren’t even sure enough fuel is there to make drilling worthwhile. Proponents quote government statistics. The U.S. geological survey estimates there are IO billion to 20 billion barrels of oil and 55 trillion to 110 trillion feet of gas under the mud and rock of the Atlantic seacoast. Total proven world oil reserves are currently estimated at 600 billion barrels. The deposits, if they exist, are on the outer continental shelf, the relatively shallow water between 30 and 200 miles from shore. The most promising places, geologists say, are Georges Bank and the Baltimore Canyon. Georges Bank stretches from off Long Island to Nova Scotia. It is one of the world’s most important fishing grounds. Baltimore Canyon lies about 40 miles off Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. Two Things “In just about everyone’s opinion there is oil in the Atlantic,” said Frank Basile, team leader of the Bureau of Land Management’s outer continental shelf office in New York. “There are basins that have good probability of significant oil and gas deposits.” Before the interior department can start up the bureaucratic process that could eventually lead to leasing of exploration rights to oil companies, two things must happen: Another federal agency must complete an environmental study, and the supreme court must settle a jurisdictional dispute over who owns the seabed. The study was requested a year ago by President Nixon. He said he needed it to decide whether to go ahead with East Coast oil exploration. The study’s conclusions by the Council on Environmental Quality are expected to clear the way for oil development under some restrictions. Somewhere Between “It’s not simply a question of go ahead or not go ahead,” said Bruce Pasternack, study coordinator for the council. “There are a lot of intermediaries. We’ll be somewhere between those extremes. “Both sides will quote our report. And I’m sure both sides will denounce us for not backing them all the way.” At stake in the supreme court case is who has the right to lease the underwater lands to the companies — the federal government or the state governments. Lease payments could amount to billions of dollars. The 12 coastal states claim that 17th-Century colonial charters give them jurisdiction over the outer continental shelf. Federal officials express confidence in victory, and even The environmental effects of an offshore oil spill would probably be slight, according to a study conducted on the Georges Bank area by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Because of the strong westerly component to the winds on the North Atlantic Coast, it is highly unlikely that a winter spill on Georges Bank will ever reach shore, and perhaps 5 percent of the summer spills will come ashore. We expect no shoreline biological damage from these spills,” said Prof. John Devanney. The biggest environmental danger is spills close to shore when crude oil is transported to land to be refined, he said. Serious Damage But, according to preliminary findings by the Council on Environmental Quality: “Commercial fishing may be seriously damaged both by water pollution and mechanical interference . . . Experience in Alaska indicates per capita income of fishermen may decrease. “Recreational industries could be hurt, especially where the character of commu character of communities is one of isolation, historic preservation or natural beauty.” Critics of drilling say coastal states would suffer all the risks but get little in return from oil development. “We have absolutely no gain from this that we can see,” said State Sen. William Bulger of Boston. “But we have a lot at Mobil struck gas first in 1971. Now 30 oil companies have spent $250 million exploring the outer continental shelf off Nova Scotia. They’ve drilled 48 holes and five of them hit gas or oil. Not enough has been found so far to justify building a pipeline to shore. “We have to go where the best geological clues lead,” said W. G. Christensen, head of Mobil operations on the Gulf Coast. “It so happens that now they lead out to sea.” SEVENTEEN Volcanic April Fool SITKA, Alaska (AP) — It’s been over four centuries since Mt. Edgecumbe blew its top, but when black smoke billowed from the dormant volcano, few Sitka residents stirred. The “eruption” was nothing more than 70 old rubber tires soaked with kerosene and set afire in the crater of the 3,270-foot-high mountain — somebody’s idea of an April Fool’s joke. Natural Gas Officials See Good in Embargo PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Arab oil embargo has forced the United States to deal with its energy needs and thus should be viewed in a positive light, say the top executives of Consolidated Natural Gas Service Co., [ Inc. “Otherwise, the continuing] apathy of our government officials and the lack of under-] standing by the people might well have led to a serious wea-| kening of our country’s political I stature and of our economy,’ according to Chairman Robert Seymour and President G. J.! Tankersley. <s> sr 7E€a/-A&S ICPlNIOt* Pol, ® 1974 by Crvtigo Tnbun* NT. New* Int. ll ^ World Right* Rmr.ed     0    *y "At my house I get a teenage opinion poll every day!" Fashion at your Feet! IM HI -A ■c£V\ Enna Jetticks lays a whole new world of fashion at your feet with their stunning shoe styles and colors for spring. It’s the quality look in footwear at prices you can’t afford to miss. 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