Another Oil Explosion in the Gulf: Enough Is Enough

Senate must come back from recess and pass offshore oil reforms

This page was published 13 years ago. Find the latest on Earthjustice’s work.

Today, an offshore oil production platform exploded into flames in the Gulf of Mexico. The platform that exploded is located just 50 miles west of the Deepwater Horizon site in what is considered shallow waters.

Fortunately, the 13 workers on the platform are alive—though one is reportedly injured. The workers, who went overboard to escape the flaming platform, were rescued in the water with special emergency flotation suits.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has the early photos, which are far too similar to the images still fresh in our minds from the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

We’re still dealing with the disastrous and tragic impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill—in fact, we still don’t even have a clue about the full scope of the impacts. It may take years or even decades for us to comprehend fully the devastating extent of the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

It is time to clean up the mess that is offshore drilling in the United States. Before we assume that any offshore oil operation is safe—and that any water depth is safe—we need to take a closer, more careful look at the science and the systems in place.

In late July, the House passed a historic oil spill response bill that, if enacted, will bring science and safety back into our offshore oil operations here in the U.S. and reform our nation’s woefully dysfunctional system of offshore drilling permitting and oversight. The Senate failed to take it up before its August recess. Senators went home to their states to begin their campaigning without fixing this broken system. Why? Because some senators objected to making oil companies liable for the full cost of their spills.

How many offshore oil disasters will we watch before our Senate does something about this dangerous industry and our government’s oversight of it? How many explosions until the public and our leaders embrace policy that ramps up safety measures and protects our coastlines?

Liz Judge worked at Earthjustice from 2010–2016. During that time, she worked on mountaintop removal mining, national forests, and clean water issues, and led the media and advocacy communications teams.