Many of you were less than pleased with yesterday’s news that BP pled guilty for its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and massive Gulf oil spill. Apparently, Mother Earth agrees that the $5 billion settlement is too little, far too late.
Multiple news outlets are reporting that another deadly explosion has occurred at an offshore oil drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana about 25 miles southeast of Grand Isle. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that the explosion killed at least two workers and sent four others to hospitals early Friday while two others are believed to be missing. Authorities say that despite the explosion and fire, the structure of the platform is “intact with no structural damage” and no oil is believed to be leaking into the Gulf.
This slightly contradicts a statement by the Coast Guard’s Captain Peter Gautier, who told WWLTV that the incident occurred as maintenance workers were cutting a pipe and some oil may have gotten loose, causing the fire. As of 12:12 pm ET, a company spokesperson said that the fire had been extinguished.
David Smith, a spokesman for the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said the team was dispatched from a Gulf Coast base by helicopter soon after the U.S. Coast Guard was notified of the emergency. Smith said the team would scan for any evidence of oil spilling and investigate the cause of the explosion.
Thankfully, as CBS reports, the platform run by Black Elk Energy is an oil-gas production platform, unlike the Deepwater Horizon rig, which was drilling an exploratory well in mile-deep water, so the potential for environmental damage is limited.
While we’re thankful to have avoided another oil spill disaster, this incident simply hammers home what critics of offshore drilling have said for years: it’s not a safe industry, and accessing more atmosphere-polluting oil is not a valid reason to put human and animal lives at risk.
Care2 will monitor this event and update the post if and when new information becomes available.
[Update] Grist reports that just one month ago, Black Elk Energy moved forward on plans to drill 23 new wells in the Gulf. The company’s president and CEO, John Hoffman, used to work for BP, among other companies.
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