Statement on Offshore Drilling Tragedy in the Gulf

Guest Blog | April 23, 2010 | Press Releases

April 23, 2010

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s Statement on offshore drilling concerns in light of ongoing Gulf rig tragedy

(April 23, 2010) – Next week, Senate leaders are expected to unveil a much-anticipated climate bill that may include incentives promoting offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf and along the Atlantic coastline.

Unfortunately, this week, tragedy struck the Deepwater Horizon exploratory drilling rig operated by Transocean Ltd. in the Gulf of Mexico, highlighting the dangers to our workers, our oceans and shorelines from dirty oil. The rig exploded, caught fire and sank after 36 hours, leaving behind it a one-mile-by-five-mile rainbow sheen of a crude oil mix is visible on the surface, and officials say that as much as 336,000 gallons of crude oil a day could be rising from the sea floor 5,000 feet below.

Since 2001, there have been 69 offshore deaths, 1,349 injuries and 858 fires in the Gulf of Mexico and in the first five months of 2009, 39 fires or explosions were reported in the Gulf, the latest period for which statistics are available, according to the federal Minerals Management Service.

Statement of Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

“Since news of this tragedy broke, our thoughts have been with the families of the 11 missing and 17 injured crewmen. This incident is yet another painful reminder that our addiction to oil and fossil fuels comes at a very high price.

“This most current incident at a drilling rig, combined with decades of environmental and human associated disasters, clearly illustrate why the rush to drill for more oil and gas offshore is a risky proposition. Offshore drilling offers a false promise of reducing our dependence on foreign oil, because it will not cure our addiction but will actually perpetuate it. Contrary to the promises offered by big oil, drilling rigs pose a serious risk to ocean and coastal environments, as well as to the workers who operate them. Including offshore drilling in a federal bill seeking reductions of climate pollution is merely digging the hole deeper: more fossil fuel drilling will only result in more carbon emissions.

“We need real solutions that move us away from dangerous and destructive energy sources and towards clean, renewable energy options. We already have the technologies to transition away from oil: greater fuel efficiency, hybrid and electric cars, and cellulosic biofuels all hold the promise of a clean energy economy day that liberates us from our dependency on dangerous fossil fuels.” # # #