BLUE NOTES #73 – Another oil catastrophe, vote for BFC Explorers, inspirational books and more
By David Helvarg
May 4, 2010
It’s happened before but you wouldn’t know it reading the New York Times. On April 28 the Times wrote a “Gulf Spill” editorial defending continued offshore oil and gas exploration. Without questioning its source it wrote, “the federal Minerals Management Service says there have been no major spills — defined as 1,000 barrels or more — in the last 15 years, a period that includes Hurricane Katrina. In that context, the blowout — while tragic and destructive — can be seen as a freak occurrence.”
But when I was down in the Gulf covering Hurricane Katrina less than five years ago the Coast Guard reported that over eight million gallons of oil spilled in and around the Gulf, more than two thirds of an Exxon Valdez. Of course that wasn’t from the 180 rigs damaged, destroyed or set adrift like the Jack Up rig Ocean Warwick that I saw grounded in the surf on Dauphin Island Alabama. The MMS, parsing things very finely indeed, was only counting spills from active offshore rigs, not the pipelines, onshore tank farms, refineries and other infrastructure essential to offshore operations.