Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Another Blazing Oil Rig Calls into Question the Obama Administration's Consideration of Offshore Drilling

Another oil platform explodes in the Gulf of Mexico giving the Obama administration reason to rethink its decision to consider offshore drilling along America's coastlines. The fire that erupted earlier today in the Gulf of Mexico killed four people and injured dozens of others. Hundreds of others were forced to jump into the water and they were evacuated by helicopter. The inferno continues to burn at this hour as eight fireboats try in vain to extinguish the blaze. The Abkatun Permanente platform belongs to Pemex oil company, a Mexican state owned company. An unknown quantity of oil is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the explosion.

This is not the first deadly disaster Pemex has had to manage. In the last three years 66 people have been killed in three separate fiery disasters. An explosion in 2013 at the company headquarters killed 37 people. Another incident at a natural gas facility in 2012 killed 25 people.

As part of an Interior Department draft for proposed offshore drilling lease program the Obama administration is considering allowing drilling along US coastlines. The incident in the Gulf of Mexico comes just after an the deadline on Monday March 30 allowing the public to weigh in on the offshore leasing program for 2017 to 2022.

While there are no new leases planned for West Coast waters, 24 leases are being considered along the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the coast of Alaska. The Interior Department officials have indicated that they will publish a final offshore lease program by the end of 2016.

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