The deadly toll of the ‘safe’ and ‘clean’ coal and oil industries

The oil rig that exploded off the Louisiana coast on Wednesday is a tragic reminder of why the movement that mobilized forty years ago for Earth Day is still so necessary, notes Brad Johnson in this WR repost.

It has now sunk below the waves in a fiery grave, potentially spilling thousands of gallons of oil underwater. Hope for the eleven men left missing in the explosion has dropped sharply. Grist’s Jonathan Hiskes notes that this comes within weeks of:

– The awful coal-mine explosion that killed 29 men under the criminal safety record of Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

– The crash of a coal freighter into the fragile Great Barrier Reef as it tried to take a shortcut from Australian mines to Chinese furnaces.


– The Tesoro oil refinery explosion that killed five workers in Washington state.

– The spillage of 18,000 gallons of crude oil from a Chevron into a canal in the Delta National Wildlife Refuge, also in Louisiana.

The cold reality is that fossil fuel production, just like its combustion, is neither clean nor safe, despite the endless propaganda from the mouthpieces of Big Oil and King Coal:

Heritage Foundation: Since gas prices have fallen from record levels in the summer, drilling has taken a backseat to concerns over the economy. Allowing and expanding safe domestic energy production will not only help in keeping prices low but it will also help stimulate the economy.

Consumer Energy Alliance: The federal government must recognize the tremendous economic opportunity that safe and responsible offshore energy exploration presents to the citizens of coastal Atlantic states and the nation at large.

Heritage Foundation: Thanks to technological advances, offshore energy production has become very safe, as is witnessed by the excellent record of recent years.

Dow Energy: Congress should not re-impose the moratoria on offshore drilling, but create a statutory construct under which drilling can go forward in a safe and effective manner.

Energy Tomorrow: The oil and natural gas industry has a proven track record of safe oil and natural gas development and the majority of the American people recognize this by supporting greater development for the benefit of their communities, their states and their nation.

Institute for Energy Research: Offshore energy exploration and production in the United States is safe and environmentally sound. Over the past 50 years, the U.S. oil and gas industry has developed innovative, 21st century technologies and exploration techniques that are efficient, pose little threat to the environment, and ensure worker safety.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA): I am committed to continue working with Secretary Salazar as well as our state and federal partners to ensure the safe and responsible production of American made energy and the creation of much needed jobs in the Commonwealth.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK): Offshore drilling is environmentally safe. Major spills from platforms are nearly non-existent.

These lies cost lives.