The Coast Guard is searching for one missing person after an oil rig explosion on Sunday night on Lake Pontchartrain, just north of New Orleans. A local police department spokesman said there were "lots of injuries," with at least seven people hurt and five sustaining "blast-type injuries and burns" that landed them in critical condition at nearby hospitals.
The blast was apparently caused by cleaning chemicals that ignited on the rig owned by Clovelly Oil Company. And while the fire department in Jefferson Parish attempted to contain the damage, authorities acknowledged oil could now be leaking into the lake.
But the incident was just the latest oil-drilling disaster which environmental advocacy groups have long fought against. Drilling for oil in the nation's water bodies has caused dozens of accidents in recent decades, most notably British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon explosion which killed 11 people and polluted 1,300 miles of shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump directed the Interior Department to reassess safety regulations put in place by the Obama administration after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. On social media, critics took aim at the move in light of the most recent explosion.
Huge Oil Rig #Explosion as Republicans continue to remove every regulation they can lay their hands on.— drhug (@drhug) October 16, 2017
Is it too soon to talk about oil rig safety & workers' lives? https://t.co/2zpcToy12d— Renew Comm'ty Power (@RenewCP) October 16, 2017
I'm sure the explosion of an oil rig on "Lake Pontchartrain" was a result of too many safety regulations. Maybe @POTUS should remove more.— BizerBizerRises (@BizerBizerRises) October 16, 2017