In announcing his newfound support for offshore drilling, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) consistently touts the safety of offshore oil exploration. “[I]t’s safe enough these days that not even Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could cause significant spillage,” he said recently. To make his case, McCain was scheduled to helicopter tomorrow to an oil rig in the Gulf Coast.
But it seems even McCain is fearful of being caught on an offshore oil rig during rough weather. Jonathan Martin reports:
Just over an hour after finalizing plans to visit an oil rig tomorrow, the McCain campaign has cancelled the visit.“The meeting with Governor Jindal has been postponed and we are cancelling the trip to the rig due to weather,” said spokesman Michael Goldfarb. […]
The campaign declined to comment any further about the quick decision to spike the trip other than to cite the weather.
Ironically, the “weather” of concern is the strengthening Hurricane Dolly, which has been bumped up to a category 2 hurricane (Katrina was rated a category 5) with winds up to 100 miles per hour. Today, Dolly made landfall in Texas.
As the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has noted multiple times, McCain and his surrogates have for weeks been peddling the false claim that Hurricane Katrina caused no major oil spills to push for expanded drilling. Watch a compilation:
The hurricanes destroyed 113 offshore oil platforms and caused 124 offshore spills and hundreds more onshore. In fact, because of Hurricane Dolly, “at least 62 production platforms and eight drilling rigs had been shut down and evacuated in the Gulf.”
As McCain makes his push for increased oil production, Louisiana officials are also dealing with a barge collision that caused a spill of an estimated 9,000 barrels of fuel into the Mississippi River, resulting in a 12-mile long oil slick. “Television stations reported the stench of diesel fuel wafting across the French Quarter.”
McCain has put safety first today, putting off his oil drilling photo-op for another day.