Oil Spills in the Gulf: Not the First, Not the Last

As the consequences from the massive BP oil drilling disaster in the Gulf continue to unfold, proponents of increased offshore drilling have remained remarkably silent about how “safe and environmentally friendly” offshore drilling can be. However, some drilling supporters do like to point out how rarely accidents like this occur.Oil drilling disasters of this magnitude may not happen all that often, but, when they do, the consequences are truly devastating and it’s becoming increasingly clear that government and oil industry officials do not have adequate plans in place for dealing with them. Furthermore, every year accidents claim workers’ lives and cause the discharge of thousands of gallons of oil and other toxic materials into the Gulf of Mexico. According to statistics on drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf from the Minerals Management Service, there have been 172 spills in the Gulf of at least 2,100 gallons in the last ten years. In 2008 alone, 125,034 gallons of oil and other toxic materials were accidently discharged! Sadly, 65 individuals have lost their lives working offshore in the Gulf during that same period.These smaller spills and accidents may not make national news, but they still have real and lasting consequences for those injured or killed, and the health of the Gulf of Mexico. Check out more information on past oil spills and accidents in the Gulf here.Raleigh Hoke is GRN’s Mississippi Organizer

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