It’s Time to Stop the Cycle of “Drill, Spill, Repeat”

Written by on April 21, 2014 in Policy & Ocean Law

Drill. Spill. Repeat? It’s a dangerous cycle.

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010. Photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard.

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010. Photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard.

Four years ago (yesterday), an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and released more than 200 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico before the leak was stopped 87 days later. After the spill, a third of the Gulf’s waters were closed to fishing and hundreds of miles of fragile coastal wetlands and beaches were contaminated.

Since then, there have been more than 18 reports of large offshore crude and refined petroleum spills — including another in the Gulf — prompting ocean conservation group Oceana to call on the Obama administration to stop offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean before it starts.

“When it comes to offshore drilling in the U.S. one overarching theme stands out – Drill, Spill, Repeat,” Claire Douglass, campaign director at Oceana said in a news release. “Offshore drilling is no safer than it was four year ago, yet President Obama is taking steps to expand this dirty and dangerous industry to the Atlantic. If the President would simply stop to listen, he would hear that coastal communities have no interest in turning the East Coast into a blast zone.”

More than 110 local elected officials and 155 conservation and animal welfare organizations have joined Oceana to stop seismic blasting, the first step towards deep-water drilling, along the East Coast. Nine coastal towns have passed local resolutions opposing their use and that number is expected to grow.

In the past we’ve written about the dangers of seismic airgun testing (more than 730,000 jobs at risk, death of up to 138,500 whales and dolphins, and more), but now, on the anniversary of one of the worst maritime oil spills in history, it’s important to remember that seismic airguns are only the first step in a series of potentially devastating moves. A spill in the Atlantic could be even bigger than the one in the Gulf. Now is the time to break the Drill, Spill, and Repeat cycle.

Check out the trailer for Oceana’s short documentary “Drill, Spill, Repeat?” to learn more about the impacts of oil spills on local residents.

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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