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Posted at 12:25 PM ET, 04/23/2010

Just when you thought drilling was safe

By Washington Post editors
LOCAL BLOG NETWORK

"Drill Baby, Drill" advocates, who include President Obama along with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, have been telling us that modern offshore oil technology is so modern that deaths and devastating spills are the problems of yesteryear.

Think twice.

This Tuesday, a powerful blast ripped apart and sank the Deepwater Horizon platform about 50 miles off Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. The floating platform, which was in mile-deep water, burned for two days before sinking. Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead.

Environmentalists fear that as much as 336,000 gallons of crude oil could ooze from the site every day. Salvage teams are scrambling to see if the wreck of the platform has blocked the wellhead, which would make fixing the problem a lot more difficult.

Despite what the politicians and oil lobbyists would have you believe, there have been similar disasters in recent years. One that comes to mind is the Piper Alpha rig off Scotland in the North Sea. Located in 474 feet of water, the rig exploded in July 1988, killing 167. That one is vivid in my memory because I was working in the Soviet Union and some of my friends who were working for British newspapers and wire services covered the disaster.

McDonnell and Obama want to lease a block 50 miles off of Virginia's Eastern Shore for exploration. So far there's scant evidence of much oil but some of natural gas reserves.

[Visit Peter Galuska's blog, Bacon's Rebellion, to read more.]

Peter Galuszka blogs at Bacon's Rebellion. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Washington Post editors  | April 23, 2010; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, Virginia, economy  
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Comments

No oil is leaking from the well head or so we are being told. Still over 8 square miles of oil is floating out in the gulf. Oil drilling is still not safe for near shore drilling and never will be. Safety measures and procedures will always be circumvented to make more profit.

Posted by: seemstome | April 23, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I wish you'd get you facts straight before writing such an article. First of all Piper Alpha was a production platform not a drilling rig. The tragic accident that occured there hadnothing to do with drilling. However as a result of that accident many new safey procedures has been put in place to protect people and the environment. In the 22 years since piper alpha oil production and drilling has made significant strides in both safety and environmental accident prevention.

Posted by: Rantumscoot | April 23, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

The facts are that they have announced that oil is escaping and it doesn't matter if it is a drilling or production platform it is still a danger to the environment. I don't think that they will find anything that will generate the high revenues that our governor is hoping for. Laws still have to be enacted to get VA a share anyway.

Posted by: Falmouth1 | April 26, 2010 5:30 AM | Report abuse

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