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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

CONTACT: Josh Dorner, 202.675.2384
                 David Willett, 202.675.6698

Don't Cry Over Spilled Oil:
McCain's Drilling Rig Do-Over

2008 Oil Spill, Bush-McCain as Katrina Approached
Photo: July 2008 Oil Spill on the Mississippi River; Bush, McCain in 2005 as Katrina Approaches

New Orleans, Louisiana--John McCain is scheduled to visit an offshore drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana today in order to tout his misguided, no holds barred plan for offshore drilling.  Today's visit comes after last month's attempted visit to a rig that was abruptly canceled following a disastrous spill of 450,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil that closed over 100 miles of the Mississippi River, causing billions in economic activity to be lost.  McCain can be expected to use the visit in order to repeat his widely discredited claims about offshore drilling.

This visit comes just over a week before the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, during which John McCain and George Bush famously celebrated McCain's birthday as the storm ravaged New Orleans.  Just this past April 24, McCain said we "need to have a conversation about what to do" about the lower 9th ward, including maybe "tear[ing] it down."

Statement of Cathy Duvall, Sierra Club Political Director

"John McCain has had trouble being honest about his real record on renewable energy, so unfortunately it's not surprising that he'd also continue to repeat mistruths about offshore drilling.  Whether it's because of the 30 or so oil industry lobbyists working on his campaign or the more than $2 million in campaign cash that has flooded in from Big Oil, John McCain is determined to promote drilling here, there, and everywhere—and he certainly won't let the facts get in the way. 

"Meanwhile, Senator McCain's allies held Congress hostage to their pro-oil agenda all summer while gas prices skyrocketed.   But now after months of complaining and stunts, these same people are refusing to fast-track comprehensive energy legislation.  They oppose a compromise plan that will support renewable energy, give consumers real relief at the pump, put America on the true path to energy independence, and take back billions in government giveaways to Big Oil.  So much for ‘all of the above.'"

John McCain's Offshore Drilling Myths and Mistruths

  • John McCain says: "Drill here, drill now" and it will lower gas prices.

    The Bush Administration says:
    Offshore drilling will have an "insignificant"  impact on oil prices—in the year 2030, and will do absolutely nothing to lower  gas prices, today, tomorrow, or two decades from now.
    The House Natural Resources Committee says: From 1999-2007, permits for drilling offshore and our public lands "increased by more than 361 percent, yet gasoline prices have also risen dramatically. There is simply no correlation between the two."


  • John McCain says: We need to allow Big Oil to begin the "exploration and exploitation" of our coasts to make us more energy independent.

    T. Boone Pickens says:
    "This is one problem we can't drill our way out of."
    The Minerals Management Service says: 82 percent of the natural gas and 79 percent of the oil located offshore is in areas that are already open to leasing.


  • John McCain says: "I'm aware that off the coast of Louisiana and Texas there are oil rigs, as we well know, and those rigs have survived, very successfully, the impacts of hurricanes." 7/18/08
    The Minerals Management Service says: Hurricanes Katrina and Rita totally  destroyed 113 offshore oil platforms.


  • John McCain says: "As for offshore drilling, it's safe enough these days that not even Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could cause significant spillage."—Houston, 6/17/08:
    Oil lobbyist and McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer says: "We withstood  Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and didn't spill a drop." MSNBC, 07/14/08:
    The U.S. Coast Guard says: Hurricanes Rita and Katrina caused over 9,000,000  gallons of oil to be spilled.


  • John McCain says: "I've talked to the actual people that do the work, that are in the business that say within months and certainly within a very short time, we could have additional oil supply for this nation. So we ought to drill now." 08/1/08:
    The American Petroleum Institute says: It would take 7-10 years for any new  oil to be produced. -McClatchy News, "McCain's call for offshore drilling won't  bring relief soon," 6/18/08.

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Paid for by the Sierra Club Political Committee,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.


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