Gulf oil spills much more common than previously reported

Those pesky facts keep getting in the way of a touching love story by friends of Big Oil. Washington Post:

Many policymakers think that the record before the BP oil spill was exemplary. In a House hearing Thursday, Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said, “It’s almost an astonishingly safe, clean history that we have there in the gulf.” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the industry’s “history of safety over all of those times” had provided the “empirical foundation” for U.S. policy.

But federal records tell a different story. They show a steady stream of oil spills dumping 517,847 barrels of petroleum — which would fill an equivalent number of standard American bathtubs — into the Gulf of Mexico between 1964 and 2009. The spills killed thousands of birds and soiled beaches as far away as Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Altogether, they poured twice as much as oil into U.S. waters as the Exxon Valdez tanker did when it ran aground in 1989.


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