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Gas or Grouse

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1. What are the systemic, corporate, and individual issues raised in this case? Systemic: Buying into the creation of new rigs set up in the mesa means America could reduce its dependency on foreign gas/oil. Not drilling in the mesa could be more costly for Americans than creating a plan that monitors wildlife sustainability during drilling in all seasons. Corporate: The gas pocket under the Pinedale mesa holds billions of dollars’ worth of cleaner natural gas. In order to drill Questar would have to either halt production during winter months to avoid distressing migratory animals, or invest in new equipment. Halting production during winter months would be very costly. Drilling crews would have to be “laid off at the beginning of winter, and new crews had to be hired and retrained every spring” (Velasquez, 2011). Questar would have to pack up all machinery and move every year. In the end it would take 18 years to reach full development of its oil fields. Developing new machinery would be very costly but it would half the amount of rigs needed to be set up.

Creating a pipeline to expedite waste would reduce the human presence overall. Individual: Preserving wildlife over gas companies using cleaner natural gas with less impact on the environment. Many species could suffer from the increased noise and interference of human intervention in the Pinedale Mesa. The increased human presence dangerously affects the Sage Grouse as well as other mammals to the point of not being able to recover, especially during the winter months. Velasquez, M. G. (2011 June, 15). Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases (7th Edition) (p 299 par 13). Pearson HE, Inc. 2. How should wildlife species like grouse or deer be valued, and how should that value be balanced against the economic interests of a society or of a company like Questar? What principles or rules would you propose we use to balance the value of wildlife species against economic interests? – Wildlife should be protected by importance to humans and other wildlife that depend on them to survive.

We should be using a cost versus benefits equation to help give a big picture when making these potentially dynamic decisions. Is the cost of losing a bird species worth the creation of more jobs and less foreign dependency? 3. In light of the fact that natural gas reduces the U.S.’s undesirable dependence on foreign oil and the fact that natural gas produces less greenhouse gases than coal, oil, and other fuels, should Questar continue its drilling operations? Does the environmental impact of Questar’s drilling operations imply that Questar is morally obligated to stop drilling wells on the Pinedale Mesa? Explain. – Yes I think Questar should continue drilling, not doing so could be costly for Americans. Because Questar’s drilling creates some ethical dilemmas, does not mean they have a moral obligation to stop drilling. If Questar had the same morals and ethics that the conservationist held, hey might stop drilling. They would have to have the same values and moral standards but obviously they have very different standpoints on the issue. Even “Energy experts around the country welcomed the new supply of natural gas” (Velasquez, 2011). This shows a moral obligation towards the economy and their buyers.

Questar might have also felt a moral obligation to drill because of the massive untapped goldmine of gas found under the sandstone in mesa, and the fact they had the resources to withdraw it. Velasquez, M. G. (2011 June, 15). Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases (7th Edition) (p 298 par 4). Pearson HE, Inc. 4. What, if anything, should Questar and the other companies be doing differently? – They should be developing the machinery they proposed that would cut the number of rigs in half and reduce their footprint on mesa. The Rigs that allowed “up to 16 wells to be dug from a single pad, instead of the traditional 1 or 2” (Velasquez, 2011). Questar’s investment could also reduce the number of roadways and pipes, creating a large waste pipe to pump away waste material automatically could also reduce the human interaction with wildlife. Velasquez, M.G. (2011 June, 15).

Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases (7th Edition) (p 299 par 14). Pearson HE, Inc. 5. From an ethical point of view, was alternative (4) the best option among those from which the BLM chose? Is another alternative better from an ethical point of view? Explain your answer. I like number 4 the most because it attended to both sides of the ethical issue. Drilling was allowed during the winter months, but wells were taxed $7500.00 per well. Animals were being monitored, plus drilling was prohibited in a few key areas and eliminated from the mating grounds of a number of different species. Number (1) could have been the most ethical decision biased to the conservationist’s side because there would be no further drilling of the mesa. Overall I agree with the fourth option because it went above and beyond just limiting drill pads to a certain number or certain area. It promised the yearly examination of the drilling effect on the wildlife and it drew a line to establish how much of an effect was too harsh on the animals. 6. Should the loss of species produced by the drilling operations of Questar be considered a problem of pollution or a problem of conservation? Can the loss of species be evaluated as an “external cost”? Explain.

You could attribute the loss of species to both pollution and conservational issues. You have a large amount of human pollution when building these large rigs in the middle of the dense wildlife. Manmade structures, roads and such could be considered human pollution because it takes away from wildlife and natural resources. The problem with conservation is our willingness to have a part in it. Not everyone is willing to accept that human interference is a problem with conservation, and some label people who value nature, as extremists. It depends on what your moral standards are. We know that these are impartial and so is your position on if drilling is a problem with conservation. Questar’s morals lined up with exploiting the large amount of natural gas for money, so it didn’t feel a need to focus on conservation when they knew it would benefit society.

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