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CONTACT: Center for Biological Diversity
Kierán Suckling, (520) 275-5960
Latest Gulf of Mexico Explosion Again Illustrates Danger of Offshore Drilling, Urgent Need for Moratorium on All Operations
TUSCON, AZ - September 2 - Today's explosion in the Gulf of Mexico serves as another tragic reminder of the inherent danger of offshore drilling and the urgent need for a large-scale moratorium on all offshore oil and gas drilling operations until human safety and protection of the environment can be assured. The explosion - which injured at least one of the thirteen people who were forced to escape into the ocean - comes less than five months after BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster and as the Obama administration considers lifting a moratorium on deepwater drilling. That moratorium covered only a small fraction of the more than 3,600 oil and gas production operations in the Gulf.
"Sadly, today's news comes as no surprise. Offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is like playing Russian roulette. It's not a matter of if something will go wrong, it's a matter of when," said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity.
"It's time the government put all offshore oil and gas operations - whether they're exploratory wells or production operations - on hold until we know they're safe. The price we've already paid for BP's Deepwater Horizon is too high. We cannot risk any more disasters."
Today's explosion was at a platform owned by Mariner Energy in about 340 feet of water. It's about 100 miles off Louisiana's coast and 200 miles west of where the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, leading to the spill of some 200 million gallons of oil in the Gulf. The Obama administration has been under intense political pressure to lift the moratorium put in place after the spill began.
"Clearly, this is not the time to let this industry return to business as usual. BP's catastrophe certainly made the case for that, and this morning's explosion only drives the point home," said Suckling.