Just when you thought drilling was safe
"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.
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.]
Washington Post editors
| April 23, 2010; 12:25 PM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Local blog network, Virginia, economy
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