McCain: Oil Rigs ‘Very Successfully’ Survived the Impact of Hurricanes

Yesterday, Nancy Pfotenhauer, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) senior policy adviser, claimed that she had been “misinformed” when she falsely stated that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita “did not spill a drop of oil.” Today, McCain made another “misinformed” argument, claiming that oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico “have survived, very successfully, the impacts of hurricanes”:

Q: I’ve been listening to your comments around renewable resources – solar, tide, and wind – you’ve talked a lot about that, but you keep peppering your comments with offshore drilling. But I’m not sure what you think the impact on our environment is based on that.

A: Keep the microphone. I’m aware that off the coast of Louisiana and Texas there are oil rigs, as we well know, and those rigs have survived, very successfully, the impacts of hurricanes – hurricane Katrina as far as Louisiana is concerned.

McCain is wrong. According to press reports, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita “tore through the Gulf of Mexico’s offshore oil and gas fields, toppling production platforms, setting rigs adrift and rupturing pipelines.” The U.S. Minerals Management Service reported that the hurricanes totally destroyed 113 offshore oil platforms.

The hurricanes cost Transocean, the largest offshore driller, “about $135 million in repairs, downtime and equipment upgrades” alone, and damage to offshore producers accounted for 77 percent of the oil industry’s storm costs. One offshore rig, the Ocean Warwick, drifted 66 nautical miles before running aground.

Here are some photos of the success that McCain is touting:


Cross-posted in The Wonk Room.