Widely acknowledged as the top of the line of oil drilling rigs, the Deepwater Horizon exploded one year ago and the lives of eleven people were lost. These people were husbands, sons, fathers, brothers and friends. The most important aspect of the tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico is, first and foremost, the loss of eleven lives.
We remember those men today: Jason Anderson,Aaron Dale Burkeen,Donald Clark,Stephen Curtis,Roy Wyatt Kemp,Karl Kleppinger,Gordon Jones (M-I SWACO),Blair Manuel (M-I SWACO),Dewey Revette,Shane Roshto,and Adam Weise.
Full Disclosure time: My husband is an engineer on offshore oil drilling rigs. He works in the Gulf of Mexico and world wide. He also commissioned the "sister" rig to the Deepwater Horizon as they were built together in South Korea in 2001. To this day, he considers The Nautilus his 'baby'.
Politics reared its ugly head immediately following the explosion. The anti-drilling far left in national politics leaped at the opportunity to demand a moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling. President Obama was happy to oblige and did so on May 27, by imposing a six month moratorium.
BP was to blame for the spill and the rightful target of wrath and punishment, state officials said, but the rest of the industry and Louisianans who work for it should not be made to suffer.
In the context of Louisiana politics, it was an unsurprising stance, with the greatest tension in the delegation being who could be the most caustic and creative in their attacks on the moratorium.
"They're probably reading their constituency pretty well," said LSU political scientist Kirby Goidel, director of the Louisiana Survey, which in late June found that "people saw it as a BP problem; they didn't see it as an oil and gas industry problem."
Yes. It was a BP problem. BP contracted the Deepwater Horizon. Transocean was the company hired to do the drilling. Due to a series of drilling decisions and a failure of the blow-out preventer - an equipment failure - the oil drilling rig caught on fire and exploded. The moratorium imposed was reactionary and unnecessary. The moratorium on oil and gas drilling was the equivalent of shutting down air travel after a plane crash or stopping train travel after a collision. It made no sense.
Some companies have a better reputation for safety than others in the oil and gas business. It is the same in any industry category. But, for the President and his administration to state as though it was fact that the explosion and the oil spill that followed was due to inherent industry corruption is nonsense. It is what they say to justify their overreaction.
The Gulf of Mexico has been the home of our domestic offshore oil drilling for decades. The U.S. has led the world in drilling innovation. No one wants safety measures enforced more than the crews on these oil rigs. If something goes really wrong, lives are lost. This was the Gulf of Mexico's sole example of such a tragedy with the resulting oil spill damaging the Gulf waters and offshore coastal areas. The moratorium added on to the loss of jobs, unemployment and business closings due to the damage the oil spill did to the coastline.
The Obama solution was to stop issuing new permits and leases until just last month - the six month moratorium easily turned into a far longer one. The Obama administration fought lifting the moratorium twice in federal court and lost both times. They continue on today with dragging their feet in issuing any permits at all. Oil and gas rigs have left the Gulf of Mexico and moved to foreign waters.
Offshore oil drilling doesn't begin with the government signing off on a permit. It is a slow process to move an oil rig to the site and begin the start up of drilling. It can take months if the exploration has already been completed.
Today, recent polling shows proof that the American public is supportive of deep water drilling to provide our own energy.
Two-out-of-three voters (67%) now support offshore oil drilling, the highest level of support since the spill last April. Seventy-six percent (76%) do not think the United States does enough to develop its own gas and oil resources which perhaps helps to explain why opposition to President Obama's continuing ban on oil drilling off the Eastern seaboard and in the eastern portion of the Gulf of Mexico is up from early December when the policy was first announced.
We get it, despite what the Obama administration would have you believe. We know that our nation requires large amounts of energy to remain productive. We need all sources of energy - fossil fuels, nuclear, wind, solar, everything. Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has proven safe and effective for decades.
Honor the lives lost in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Support our Gulf coast. Demand of your political leaders that all sources of energy are used.