September 3, 2010

Richard Hi-ResLast night, Canadian TV’s news staff got on the phone with Richard Charter, offshore drilling expert and senior policy adviser at Defenders of Wildlife, to hear what he had to say about the explosion of the Vermilion 380, an offshore drilling platform owned by Mariner Energy of Houston.

After monitoring the aftermath of the explosion almost 100 miles south of Louisiana, Richard said, “Everyone is relieved that 13 workers were rescued safely from the waters, but in terms of environmental consequences it’s too early to tell.”

He told CTV of the company that owned the rig, “Mariner Energy since 2006 has had nine reported incidents in the Gulf of Mexico, including four fires and one blowout. There are these smaller events consistently throughout the Gulf of Mexico that we don’t usually hear about because they don’t occur – by coincidence – on the same day, today, that BP experts were removing the capping stack from the Deepwater Horizon Macondo well.”

The current moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico would not have affected this rig, drilling at only 340 feet. Richard said, “The event today of course highlights that there are inherent risks of accidents in offshore drilling activities in any water depth.”

“We need to either make this activity safe or decide there are going to be  parts of hte planet that are too environmentally sensitive to go ahead with high risk drilling – the Arctic is of course one of  them. We’re getting some hard lessons as a society here.”

See the full interview here.

What you can do:

Write a letter to the editor. The House of Representatives has passed legislation to help protect our wildlife by improving safety and accountability in offshore drilling, but the Senate has yet to act. Help encourage your senators to act by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

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