Everyone is watching the gulf of Mexico with horror after the Deepwater Horizon spill, a spill that started in April and just keeps on giving. Meanwhile, we keep hearing platitudes about how rare this sort of thing is and how safe oil drilling really is. But is it? As Yale points out:
The swiftly unfolding environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico has riveted the world’s attention in recent weeks, but as the blog AidData points out, the amount of oil spilled in the Niger Delta over five decades far exceeds the disaster in the Gulf, with even more devastating environmental consequences. Citing statistics from the United Nations Development Program, AidData says estimates of oil spilled in the Niger Delta since 1960 range from 5.75 million to 10 million barrels, roughly triple the amount of oil that has gushed into the Gulf of Mexico from the blown-out Deepwater Horizon rig.UNDPOIL SPILLED: Nigeria spill (1960-present) and the 2010 BP spill
The folks over at Skytruth have an interactive map of spills in the Gulf of Mexico. If you follow the link, you will see that there have been dozens of oil related dramas in the Gulf, just since January of this year. It seems that oil spills are far more common that we are led to believe.
Most people don’t even know about the second largest spill in history, the result of the first Gulf war in Iraq/Kuwait.
I am far more suspicious of the platitudes being murmured by our fearless Ministers here in New Zealand than I was just a year ago. Self-regulation and voluntary standards are proving to be a farce, and a very expensive farce at that.