Offshore oil extraction is closely managed to limit its effect on water quality. The Environmental Protection Agency sets effluent guidelines for both onshore and offshore oil and gas activities. Offshore oil companies must meet or exceed these standards. Environmental enforcement for offshore practices is handled by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
The recent tragic Deepwater Horizon spill was a very visible example of the effects of accidents in offshore oil exploration. This does not reflect the energy industry’s decades-long commitment to protecting workers and the environment.
A brief summary of water quality issues relating to oil and gas from the oil industry:
EPA’s Water Quality guidelines for oil and gas activities: