The number of oil spills keeps increasing

Gulf oil spill 2010Oil spills make the news on a regular basis. Are we so used to hearing, seeing and/or reading about them that we take them for granted as a way of life? We humans can get used to anything if we have to, but are we becoming desensitized to this growing environmental disaster? A recently released report from E&E Publishing revealed that while the rate of drilling activity has leveled off, the number of oil spills increased more than 17 percent in 2013. The report shows that according to an EnergyWire analysis of state records there were at least 7,662 spills, blowouts, leaks and other mishaps in 2013 in 15 top states for onshore oil and gas activity. That’s from 6,546 in the states where comparisons could be made. Oil spills in 2013 by company & volumeBoiled down to its simplest, that’s more than 20 spills per day! Although many of these spills were small, the total volume is significant – more than 26 million gallons of oil, hydraulic fracturing fluid, “fracking” wastewater and other substances. To help wrap your mind around this figure, that’s the same volume that spewed out during the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. We’ve had some BIG oil spills just this year – the recent gusher in Los Angeles comes to mind. Despite assurances from every major oil corporation in the world, there is as yet NO guarantee that oil won’t continue to be spilled around the world at any drilling site. There have been no preventative measures designed and implemented by them that can even easily and quickly remedy an oil spill, not without much delay and serious environmental consequences. There’s some grim humor to be had in repeating the following quote. The oil and gas companies say that they’re working hard to reduce spills and that some of the increase in spill numbers comes from more diligent reporting.

Oiled birds, photo courtesy of International Bird Rescue Research

Oiled birds, photo courtesy of International Bird Rescue Research

“I think we’re getting closer to 100 percent reporting,” said Kari Cutting, vice president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. “Everybody is very conscious of the situation. Nobody wants spills.” Really? If that were truly the case, wouldn’t huge amounts of money be spent on serious R&D to solve this monumental problem? Consumers speak volumes both with their dollars and through online petitions that are gaining momentum in attracting attention and producing positive results. It’s time for more consumers to demand that this important issue gets solved – soon. It’s time to speak up, speak out and be heard.

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