Monday, April 26, 2010

Coal Mine and Offshore Oil Rig Accidents


By Norris McDonald

April was a deadly month for the coal and oil industries.

The April 5 accident at Massey Energy Co.’s Upper Big Branch mine killed 29 miners. The usual reviews and reforms followed just as they will after the next coal mine methane explosion. People are going to die is they mine coal deep underground.

My condolences to those who lost loved ones in the latest Massey mine accident.

On April 20, an oil rig caught fire, exploded and then sank off the coast of Lousiana killing 11 workers. My condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in this accident.

In addition to the lost lives, the accident is an ongoing environmental disaster with un undermined amount of oil being spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. It is spewing oil into the ocean day and night and nobody seems to know when it can be plugged. Officials can only speculate as to whether the oil will wash up on shore.

The Center does not oppose coal use. We do advocate that it should be used as cleanly as possible. We oppose expanded offshore oil drilling because it will increase the likelihood of additional accidents such as this one. Our coasts and our oceans are simply too valuable to risk permanent harm from offshore oil accidents. Forty lives lost in one month. Coal mining and oil production are dangerous businesses. I salute the people willing to risk their lives on a daily basis to assure that we get the energy we need to run our country.

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