The dangers of the fossil fuel industry have sadly come into focus again, after an “explosion and fire on an offshore drilling platform” off the coast of Louisiana left “least 12 people missing and seven critically injured.” The explosion on the rig Deepwater Horizon occurred at about 10 PM Tuesday, about 52 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana’s tip. The rig is still “burning pretty good and there’s no estimate on when the fire will be put out,” a Coast Guard official said. The rig is leased by BP Exploration & Production from Transocean, a Houston-based company.
Offshore drilling advocates from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to state Sen. Frank Wagner (R-VA) have repeatedly promoted the false notion that the practice is safe — for its workers and for the environment. The 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, was a particular booster:
This disaster comes on the heels of the Massey Energy coal mine explosion that took 29 miners’ lives on April 5, and the Tesoro oil refinery explosion in Anacortes, WA, that killed six workers on April 2. It is a tragic fact that fossil fuel extraction in America is not “safe.”