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Rash of Oil Spills Shows Urgent Need for Action on Offshore Drilling

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Oceana Calls for Spill Safety Bill and Limitations on Future Oil and Gas Development


July 7, 2011
Washington, D.C.
Contact:
Dustin Cranor ( dcranor@oceana.org | 954-348-1314, 954-348-1314 (cell))
Jackie Savitz ( jsavitz@oceana.org | 202-833-3900)




In reaction to recent reports of oil spills in Montana, China and the North Sea, and in advance of the July 15th anniversary of the capping of the Deepwater Horizon oil well, Oceana’s senior campaign director Jacqueline Savitz issued the following statement:

“Next Friday, July 15th, marks the one-year anniversary of the capping of the Deepwater Horizon oil well, finally plugging the three-month long offshore drilling fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico. One year later, we continue to see oil spills in every ocean where drill rigs and platforms are operating, yet Congress has not passed a single law to protect the marine environment or the communities and economies that rely on clean oceans.

Recent reports from the United Kingdom cite more than 100 significant oil and gas spills last year in the North Sea alone. The company responsible for the most spills on that list is not an obscure operation, it is Shell, the company that claims it can drill safely enough to be allowed access to America’s sensitive and pristine Arctic Ocean. If the North Sea is any indication, we shouldn’t let them anywhere near the Arctic.

Meanwhile, enough oil spilled recently in China’s Bohai Bay to create a 320 square mile oil slick. And we all watched as at least 42,000 gallons of crude oil flowed into the Yellowstone River on Independence Day – which shouldn’t be surprising since Exxon Mobil had been warned of seven potential safety violations along the same pipeline.

Skytruth, an independent ocean observation organization, reports that in the Gulf of Mexico, one year later, there are currently two oil slicks visible in satellite images, possibly coinciding with two recent oil spill incident reports submitted to the National Response Center (NRC). See: http://blog.skytruth.org/

It is outrageous that in the midst of all these oil spills, rather than making the drilling process safer, Congress is trying to carve up our oceans and sell them off to the oil and gas industry. Wherever there is drilling, there is spilling, and yet we continue to rely upon, and even subsidize an industry which makes record profits by exploiting our public resources while polluting our water and our air.

If Congress intends to continue to allow this dirty and dangerous process in our oceans, Oceana urges legislators to take note of the frequency of oil spills and pass meaningful legislation to improve drilling safety and prevent the expansion of offshore drilling into previously protected areas and America’s Arctic.”