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April 27, 2010

Oil Rig That Exploded Now Leaking

Oil spill

Satellite image of the oil spill area, courtesy of NASA's Earth Observatory. Click to see a larger version of this image.

The situation is worsening for the destroyed oil rig 50 miles south of Lousiana's gulf shore. After it exploded last week, injuring many of the workers and leaving another 11 missing and presumed dead, the race is on to cap the pipe it was attached to.

The pipe is leaking 1,000 barrels of oil day and the oil slick now covers 2,000 square miles. Beyond harming sea life already, there's worry of it soon reaching the shore in Louisiana and elsewhere. The NY Times has an interesting article today on the immense work going into the stopping the leak thousands of feet below the surface.

These are the dangers of off-shore drilling. The rigs can explode and kill the workers, not to mention the leaking oil which then ruins the surrounding environment. The Christian Science Monitor also has a helpful article entitled "Why Do So Many Oil Spills Happen?"

This is the latest in a string of fossil fuel tragedies. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said as much in a recent statement: "Right now America is mourning workers lost in a coal mine in West Virginia and an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana. The latter tragedy is also causing 42,000 gallons of oil to be spilled into the Gulf every day.

"These human and environmental disasters put our desperate need for a new clean energy economy in stark relief. We need to move away from dirty, dangerous, and deadly energy sources.  We join our colleagues in saying that every day the Senate fails to pass clean energy and climate policy, we put our economy, our national security and our environment at risk. Now is the time to put America back in control of our energy future with comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. It’s time to finish what we started."

Meanwhile, today BP - the owner and operator of the exploded well - reported a $6.5 billion profit for last quarter. And Huffington Post has an excellent article up today about how the industry fought off new oil rig safety standards before this explosion.

We can do better than oil and coal to power the U.S.


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