All Too Familiar: Offshore Drilling Explosion and Fire in Gulf of Mexico - Oceana USA
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July 24, 2013

All Too Familiar: Offshore Drilling Explosion and Fire in Gulf of Mexico

UPDATE, Friday, July 26. 10:40 AM: On Thursday evening, officials stated that the gas was cut off on the burning Hercules 265 drilling rig. The only remaining fire is a small flame fueled by residual gas at the top of the well. However, these recent leaks and explosions should remind us that offshore drilling is”inherently risky,” and that blowouts “aren’t that infrequent.” Those quotes are from Michael Bromwich, the former chief of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and its predecessor agency, the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management Regulation and Enforcement. 

“These all should be learning exercises,” Bromwich went on to say. “What went wrong here? Were there errors in human judgment? What remedial or corrective actions should be taken by the company, and what can the industry and what can the regulators learn?”

To us, the lessons are clear — shift away from dirty and dangerous fossil fuels, and towards clean, safe and forever renewable sources of energy like offshore wind. If we want to prevent these disasters in the future, we must reject offshore drilling outright. We urge you to sign our petition telling President Obama to reject seismic airgun testing and future offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

Wednesday, July 24: The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement confirmed this morning that an oil and gas rig in the Gulf of Mexico has ignited, causing an offshore drilling explosion and subsequent fire. Unlike the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout, the blowout preventer on this rig is above the water and surrounded by uncontrollable fire, making access to it impossible. In response to this disaster, Oceana deputy Vice President for U.S. Campaigns Jacqueline Savitz issued the following statement: 

“This is yet another reminder that offshore drilling remains dirty and dangerous. Despite what the oil companies and our government claim, offshore drilling is still far from being safe. What is even more worrisome is that these types of accidents happen more frequently than most people know.

Oil and gas companies continue to rely on so-called ‘safety measures’ that don’t work. They did not prevent the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, or this blowout and fire. After the Gulf oil spill, BP and others were quickly allowed to go back to business-as-usual using the same risky methods. More blowouts, fires and spills will continue until we replace offshore drilling with clean, renewable energy sources such as offshore wind and solar.

Unfortunately, our government seems instead to be preparing to increase our dependence on offshore drilling. The current proposal to use seismic airguns to look for oil and gas deposits off the East Coast is the first step to drilling and spilling in the Atlantic.

Coastal economies, which depend on healthy oceans, simply cannot afford more offshore drilling disasters.  And we absolutely cannot afford to bring this risk to the East Coast.”

Let’s break this destructive cycle. Please sign and share our petition to tell President Obama to reject proposed seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic Ocean.