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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Reinstate the ban on offshore drilling

- endangered sea turtles are found along the Gulf Coast

I haven't yet written anything about Obama's plan for offshore drilling, but I will now - nooooooooo! - and the recent oil spill is a good example of why I say that (you can read more about the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion at Wikipedia). Here's part of an email I received yesterday from Defenders of Wildlife, asking me to write to the president and ask him to reinstate the ban on offshore drilling (which I did) .....

At least 400 wildlife species (not counting micro-organisms) and 19 essential wildlife refuges – one of which hosted some 34,000 birds just days before the spill – are already threatened by the Gulf spill. [6]

And the remnants of the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling operation continue to spew at least 5,000 barrels (more than 200,000 gallons) of toxic oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day… with no end in sight. [7]

For 27 years, a congressional ban on offshore drilling largely protected our coastal wildlife from offshore drilling disasters like this. But that all changed in 2008, when then-President George W. Bush rescinded the ban his father put in place after the Exxon Valdez tanker spill – and Congress quickly followed suit by lifting their own ban on drilling in certain areas.

President Obama – who just weeks ago called for more offshore drilling – has issued a temporary halt to drilling activities in new areas in the wake of the Deepwater disaster, granting a temporary reprieve to sensitive areas like North Carolina’s Outer Banks and the only known calving grounds for the North Atlantic right whales off the coast of Georgia and Florida.

But the President has not yet said that he’ll stop drilling activities planned for this summer in Alaska’s pristine Chukchi and Beaufort Seas – home to polar bears, walrus, and bowhead whales.

Worse, Big Oil and their political allies are tenacious, well-funded and committed to industrializing our coasts… even at the cost of another ecological disaster. As the Gulf Coast crisis continues to grow, drilling proponents like former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (who should know better!) continued the call for more offshore drilling. [8]

[6] As Oil Slick Drifts Closer, Resource Defenders Gird for Worst Along Gulf Coast - New York Times

[7] With Oil Spill (and Blame) Spreading, Obama Will Visit Gulf - TIME

[8] Will Republicans Abandon "Drill, Baby, Drill"?

- Image from 04/25/10 -- courtesy SkyTruth/NASA


Anonymous Henry said...


I don't know much about this topic but I do know that greed does contribute to the fact that we are unnecessarily destroying the planet.



6:49 PM  
Blogger Mike L said...

I agree with Henry, greed is a serious problem. I thought all offshore rigs had to have automatic shutoffs installed, but obviously someone bypassed that little item.

Was this failure in international waters or in territorial waters? Who controls and makes the laws where this well site was located. I have to admit I haven't read much about those questions, just kind of looked at the headlines with horror.


Mike L

7:28 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi you guys,

There's a Wikipedia page for it - Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion. It has all the relevant info. It does sound awful. Here's just the intro of what Wikipedia has ....

An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, operating in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, on April 20, 2010, resulted in a fire that sank the rig and caused a massive-scale oil spill.[1] Eleven rig workers are currently missing and presumed dead, the explosion also injured 17 others.[2] The oil spill covers a surface area of at least 2,500 square miles (6,500 km2) according to estimates reported on May 3, 2010 by CNBC.[3] The oil spill, originating from a deepwater oil well 5,000 feet (1,500 m) below sea level, is currently discharging an estimated 5–25 thousand barrels (210,000–1,100,000 US gallons; 790,000–4,000,000 litres) of crude oil daily.[4]

It is the worst drilling accident in the Gulf of Mexico in over three decades.[5] Experts fear that it will result in an environmental disaster as the oil from the well site reaches the Gulf coast, damaging the Gulf of Mexico fishing industry, tourism industry, and habitat of hundreds of bird species.[6][7]

BP was principal developer of the oil field and leased the oil rig from Transocean Ltd.[8] The U.S. Government has named BP as the responsible party in the incident and will hold the company accountable for all cleanup costs resulting from the oil spill.[9][10] BP has accepted responsibility for the oil spill and the cleanup costs but indicated that the accident was not their fault and the rig was run by Transocean personnel.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Mike L said...


Thanks for the link, a lot of information there. It is scary that the oil companies rejected, and the U.S. went along with the idea that $500,000 is to expensive for a sonic activated valve. I would have thought that was small change in that business.

I will also be interested in why the automatic valve failed to activate, and why the ROVs could not activate it. Kind of sounds like the bore hole itself is leaking and the oil is coming out at different places. No solution to that except to redrill.

12:19 PM  

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