(New Orleans) An accident at an underwater pipe system connecting four oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico created a miles long oil slick in Gulf waters on Thursday. The facility is a Shell oil facility. Details, including the cause of the accident, are not being reported, though the amount released is said to be almost 90,000 gallons.
“What we usually see in oil industry accidents like this is a gross understatement of the amount release and an immediate assurance that everything is under control, even if it’s not,” said Anne Rolfes, Founding Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “This spill shows why there is a new and vibrant movement in the Gulf of Mexico for no new drilling.” Residents of the Gulf region are calling on President Obama not to open additional leases in the next Five Year Plan for the Gulf of Mexico.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held a hearing about that plan on Thursday, the same day as Shell’s accident. The hearing focused on the environmental impact statement of oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Gulf residents opposed to drilling brought tarballs found just last month at Elmer’s Island in Grand Isle, using the tarballs as evidence that BOEM’s environmental impact assessment is inadequate.
According to the federal National Response Center, the oil industry has thousands of accidents in the Gulf of Mexico every year. The ongoing destruction is one reason that Gulf residents are traveling to Washington, D.C. this weekend to participate in a Break Free from fossil fuels action at the White House. The action follows ten days of global action encouraging a transition to renewable energy and a commitment from world leaders to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
The Shell facility, 90 miles offshore, is farther offshore than the BP Disaster which was 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana.
Contact: Anne Rolfes, Founding Director, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (504) 452-4909
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