Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Offshore Drilling Doesn't Always = Oil Spills

Energy, Environment, Legislation

When I think of oil spills, my mind goes immediately to the Exxon Valdez. Remember that one? In my mind's eye I can still see volunteers trying to wash off animals and rocks with toothbrushes and Dawn detergent. 

1989 Exxon Valdez ran aground on a reef off of Alaska, it was a case of drunk driving!

Valdez, Alaska: Today, years after the Oil Spill cleanup, efforts on some heavily oiled beaches have been reinstated, and with the help of Mother Nature, the Sound will recover more each year. Prince William Sound today flourishes with marine life, waterfowl, bottom fish, and salmon runs. Visit Valdez and see gorgeous Prince William Sound for yourself!

Before the Valdez, there was the 1978 Tanker Amoco Cadiz that tanker split in two off coast of France.

These images stick with us and make people wary of increasing offshore drilling.

But if we continue the moratorium on offshore drilling, will we be immune to oil spill disasters?

NO. The Valdez and Cadiz spills were not the result of offshore drilling rigs gone bad, they were the result of oil tanker accidents.

Whether we drill here on land or offshore, we are still importing oil from across the oceans. We are still vulnerable to oil tanker crashes and accidents.

Last month President Bush urged our Congress to Lift the Offshore Drilling Ban. (My emphasis throughout page) The President,

admitted his proposals "will take years to have their full impact" but he said that rather than it being an excuse for delay, "it's a reason to move swiftly" and called on Congress to change the lift the moratorium by the July 4 recess.


The offshore drilling moratoria have been in effect since 1981 in more than 80 percent of the country's Outer Continental Shelf. It was instituted to protect tourism and lessen the chance of oil spills reaching popular beaches.

If you noticed, the Exxon Valdez disaster occurred in 1989, 8 years after the drilling moratorium of 1981. The ban did nothing to protect Alaska against the Valdez' oil spill. 

The good news after hurricanes Katrina and Rita was at least there were no major oil spills due to off shore drilling.

Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal recently stated in a Fox News piece on offshore drilling that, “You know, that’s one of the great unwritten success stories, after Katrina and Rita, these awful storms, no major spills.” 

According to a Heritage Foundation piece, June 30, 2008, More Lies From the Center for American Progress, The Center for American Progress tried to paint a picture that it was the offshore drilling that caused oil spills. The CAP linked to a Minerals Management Service study that reported, "113 oil platforms were 'totally destroyed' --a total of 124 offshore spills."

That sounds bad, but read more from the MMS: 

Offshore environmental impacts as a result of hurricane events in the [Gulf of Mexico Regional Office] have typically been minor due to the downhole safety valves at wells and operating practices conducted by the oil and gas industry with respect to platforms and pipelines in advance of approaching hurricanes… While cleanup was required, the volume of oil spilled and impacts to shore from offshore infrastructure were categorized as minor.

The Heritage Foundation article then states, "CAP then goes on to blatantly conflate onshore and offshore oils spills. They (CAP) write:

In fact, oil seeped onshore into southeast Louisiana, which saw 44 onshore and offshore oil spills. The EPA called the spills “worse than the worst-case scenario.” Even oil industry representatives admitted: “nature can always topple you.

If you click the first link, southeast Louisiana, it takes you to a MSNBC article, 44 oils spills found in southeast Louisiana.  In that article you find:

The Coast Guard estimates more than 7 million gallons of oil were spilled from industrial plants, storage depots and other facilities around southeast Louisiana.

And from the last link, nature can always topple you, the Houston Chronicle article states: 

“Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters unleashed 1 million gallons of oil from one of the massive storage tanks at Murphy Oil’s nearby refinery.”

The Heritage Foundation concluded, "These are all onshore oil industry activities. To cite them as evidence of the danger of offshore oil drilling is blatantly dishonest. The Center for American Progress owes Gov. Jindal an apology."

One thing I found in the Houston Chronicle that people rarely verbalize: oil companies don't want spills either! 

"We don't like to spill oil. Oil that spills is of no value," said Larry Wall, a spokesman for the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.

Oils spills = $ loss to the oil companies!  It is in their best interest to prevent storm damage and oil spills too.

Continuing to restrict US oil companies from drilling offshore cannot guarantee we have no more oil spills on our shores. We already have our own oil companies drilling offshore, Mexican companies drilling close by, oil tankers approaching our coastlines to deposit their oil, and our own land based refinery and industry storage tanks. Any one of these entities could cause an oil spill disaster...given the right circumstances. Maintaining the drilling moratorium removes just one piece from that list of possible offenders. It alone will not prevent future oil spills.

Remember the Exxon Valdez? 



Click here to sign the DRILL HERE. DRILL NOW. PAY LESS.  domestic drilling petition and see the latest links to related oil news (updated every day).

Drill Here is now over the 1.24 million mark. The goal is 3 million signatures by the Democratic and Republican Conventions. 


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