FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 23, 2008
CONTACT: Josh Dorner, 202.679.7570 (m), 202.675.2384 (w)
McCain Cancels Louisiana Trip Amid Massive Oil Spill
Where Will Greatest Energy Misses Tour Take McCain Next?
Washington, D.C.—Amid a spill of some 419,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil into the Mississippi River, John McCain canceled a planned trip to Louisiana Thursday—a trip during which McCain was slated to visit offshore drilling platforms and tout his misguided offshore drilling plan. Following a collision of a tanker and a barge, the massive spill caused a slick approximately 12 miles long and closed a 29 mile stretch of the Mississippi River.
Statement of Cathy Duvall, Sierra Club Political Director
"It comes as no surprise that the McCain campaign blamed the cancellation of their trip to Louisiana on the weather. Apparently hundreds of thousands of gallons of spilled oil, dead fish, and oil-covered birds aren't ideal conditions for peddling a misguided plan for more offshore drilling. Unfortunately, the risk for such spills—and far worse—would only increase if John McCain and George Bush get their way and allow Big Oil to begin the 'exploitation' of our coasts.
"It's a shame that John McCain is going to miss the opportunity to see first-hand just how damaging an oil spill can be.
"After going straight to Houston to tell Big Oil he was their new best friend, it looks like John McCain has decided to embark on a tour of our country's greatest energy misses. He's already been to Santa Barbara, he then told the people of Nevada how he wants to stick them with more than 70,000 tons of dangerous nuclear waste, and Lousiana was the site of the biggest offshore oil spill in our nation's history. Maybe next he'll visit Prince William Sound or Three Mile Island?"
McCain's Greatest Energy Misses Summer 2008 Tour
1. Houston, Texas—June 17
McCain announced his flip-flop on offshore drilling and received a standing ovation from the Big Oil fat cats that have given over $5 million to his campaign and the Republican National Committee. A 1979 offshore well blowout in the Bay of Campeche spilled more than 126,000,000 gallons of oil—coating beaches in Texas and Mexico with crude.
2. Santa Barbara, California—June 24
McCain pushed his misguided offshore drilling plan at the site of a 1969 oil spill from an offshore well that coated the beaches of Santa Barbara with at least 3,234,000 gallons of oil.
3. Las Vegas, Nevada—June 25
John McCain went to Nevada to push his plans to build 100 new nuclear power plants and stick the residents of the state with more than 77,000 tons of highly dangerous nuclear waste at the unsafe and unproven Yucca Mountain site.
4. Louisiana—July 24 CANCELED
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita resulted in more than 9,000,000 gallons of oil being spilled off-shore and at related facilities onshore. Louisiana is also the site of the nation's largest ever offshore oil spill, the 1967 Humble Oil spill that spewed at least 6,726,000 gallons of oil from an undersea pipeline.
5. Prince William Sound, Alaska--???
The 1989 ExxonValdez disaster spilled 10,800,000 gallons of oil into the Pristine Waters of Prince William Sound. Mere months after the tragic spill, John McCain voted against requiring double-hull tankers. McCain also wants to appoint more Supreme Court justices like Alito and Roberts, who recently decided to cut ExxonMobil's punitive damages to just $500 million—the same amount the company paid former CEO Lee Raymond during his final year with the company.
6. Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania—???
Site of the nation's worst nuclear accident, 1979 partial meltdown of one of the station's two reactors. John McCain wants to build 100 new nuclear reactors, a plan that by utilities' own estimates could cost AT LEAST $1 TRILLION.
John McCain's Truthiness on Offshore Drilling
McCain Myth #1: Offshore drilling is safe and is getting even safer
Reality: Offshore oil spills increased 64 PERCENT over the past decade.
"From 1998 through 2007, offshore producers released an average of 6,555 barrels of oil a year, according to the Minerals Management Service, which tracks spills of 50 barrels or more. That was 64 percent more than the annual average during the previous 10-year period…Last year, the industry spilled 2,256 barrels of oil, fuels and chemicals, and during the first half of this year, offshore operators are on a similar course, having spilled 1,114 barrels in five incidents."
(Source: Houston Chronicle, 07/19/2008)
McCain Myth #2: No spills happened as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita
Reality: Over 9,000,000 gallons of oil were spilled as a result of the two storms.
(Source: U.S. Coast Guard)
McCain Myth #3: Oil rigs "very successfully" survived the impact of hurricanes
Reality: Hurricanes Katrina and Rita alone "totally destroyed" 113 offshore oil platforms.
One platform drifted 66 nautical miles before running aground on a beach in Alabama. Hurricane Dennis in 2005 nearly destroyed the then brand-new, state-of-the-art $1 billion Shell Thunder Horse platform—the largest of its kind in the world.
(Source: Minerals Management Service)
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