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Disaster on Gulf Offshore Platform: a Grim Tragedy on this 40th Earth Day

Leila Monroe

Posted April 23, 2010 in Reviving the World's Oceans

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The disastrous explosion, fire, and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico is a tragic reminder that offshore oil and gas exploration is dangerous business.  This is a terrible loss – a loss no one wanted to see, but unfortunately, one that many families now have to face.  Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the 17 workers who were injured and those 11 who are still missing.

The rig burned for 30 hours before sinking into about 5000 feet of water 50 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana.  Although it is often claimed that advanced technology makes offshore oil and gas exploration safe, this and other accidents show that even the most state-of-the art operations still involve very serious dangers for workers and the environment.

The measure of environmental impacts of the accident are yet unknown, but there will almost certainly be significant ecological and economic costs in the Gulf region.  Coast Guard investigators interviewed by CNN stated that the Deepwater Horizon rig was producing about 336,000 gallons per day of crude oil – it currently is unknown whether and how much oil is leaking into the ocean from the well head. The Coast Guard also stated that about 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel could leak into the ocean from the sunken rig.

On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the Deepwater catastrophe was a strong reminder that there are significant dangers associated with offshore oil and gas exploration.  As the debate over our nation’s energy future is expected to heat up in Washington next week, this tragedy will serve as an unfortunate reminder that we should focus on energy efficiency and clean energy alternatives, rather than increasing our reliance on dirty fuels and dangerous technologies.

US Coast Guard Fights Fire on the Deepwater Horizon Rig

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

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Comments

D WoijohowskiApr 23 2010 02:19 PM

Good news from AP

"No oil appeared to be leaking from a drilling rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard said Friday, though officials were trying to contain what spilled after the blast and prevent any threat to the coast's fragile ecosystem."

John SmathersApr 23 2010 04:06 PM

Oil has leaked from the structure and efforts are underway to contain some of it.Company officials now say that a major oil spill is certainly a possiblity. Sad that lost human lives and damaged environment are our energy "choice" here in the USA>

M HarveyApr 23 2010 11:59 PM

Just don't forget that we all live in houses that take lots of energy to produce and maintain. The materials needed to build even the 'green' energy technology generators have to come from somewhere (most likely mined by impoverished and unrepresented peasants) and the amount of heavy metals needed to produce the batteries for eco-cars and eco-homes are as detrimental as anything else. Bottom-line is that we are all consumers and the only way we'll get better is to continue with technological improvements. Don't stop advancing technology - for ALL forms of science and industry.

Malcolm McCalebApr 24 2010 02:59 PM

My prayers along with the rest of the nation go out to the families,and friends of those who have lost loved ones in the recent oil rig disaster.
I can't tell you how much it bothers me and others when these terrible catastrophies occur. I only hope that someday we will rely on other sources for our nations energy needs. A day will come when the people of the world will find safer, cleaner, environmentally friendly energy; we won't have to use fossil fuels anymore.
In the meantime, I hope that we won't ever have to lose more lives producing our energy needs.
Again my prayers go out to all the families of all those who have died supporting their families and our nations energy needs.

Charles TurnerApr 27 2010 03:04 PM

To the brave crew on board the platform my deeps symphty goes out to you and your families donot give up god loves you all this tragic accident will not put fear in me i will allways still want to become offshore platform worker Rember our quest an need is still out their keep your head up and eyes open we must continue to be number1 supplyer in the world

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