When it comes to environmental policy, we’ve documented the Center for American Progress’ penchant for distorting reality before. Now they are at it again, this time trying to prove that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is “unaware” that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused “major” offshore oil spills.
Debating offshore oil drilling on Fox News, Jindal accurately said, “You know, that’s one of the great unwritten success stories, after Katrina and Rita, these awful storms, no major spills.” To rebut Jindal’s claims CAP links to a Minerals Management Service study that they claim reports “that 113 oil platforms were “totally destroyed” — a total of 124 offshore spills.” And it is true. The cited MMS study does report that 113 oil platforms were destroyed and that there were 124 offshore spills. But here is what else the report says:
Offshore environmental impacts as a result of hurricane events in the [Gulf of Mexico Regional Office] have typically been minor due to the downhole safety valves at wells and operating practices conducted by the oil and gas industry with respect to platforms and pipelines in advance of approaching hurricanes… While cleanup was required, the volume of oil spilled and impacts to shore from offshore infrastructure were categorized as minor.
CAP then goes on to blatantly conflate onshore and offshore oils spills. They write:
In fact, oil seeped onshore into southeast Louisiana, which saw 44 onshore and offshore oil spills. The EPA called the spills “worse than the worst-case scenario.” Even oil industry representatives admitted: “nature can always topple you.”
But if you click through on the links above you’ll see that MSNBC article CAP cites reports on onshore oil spills from “industrial plants, storage depots and other facilities around southeast Louisiana.” And the Houston Chronicle article CAP cites begins by recounting that “Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters unleashed 1 million gallons of oil from one of the massive storage tanks at Murphy Oil’s nearby refinery.” These are all onshore oil industry activities. To cite them as evidence of the danger of offshore oil drilling is blatantly dishonest.
The Center for American Progress owes Gov. Jindal an apology.