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For Immediate Release, December 14, 2011

Contact: Miyoko Sakashita, (415) 632-5308 or

Deepwater Horizon Report Highlights Unaddressed Risks of Ocean Oil Drilling

SAN FRANCISCO— The National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council today issued a report on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil-spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The report contained a series of recommendations and said the oil industry and government have been too focused solely on oil drilling, with inadequate attention to safety.

“This report again confirms that the government was lax in its oversight role, allowing riskier and riskier oil drilling without safety tests or accurate reporting of accidents,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which has filed a number of lawsuits to help wildlife and communities recover from the effects of the massive spill.

The study recommends safety and regulatory measures that should be used to prevent another big spill, yet even after Deepwater Horizon, the government continues to cut corners on environmental reports and pushing ahead rapidly for more offshore drilling. Measures to increase safety, improve oil-spill response and enact environmental safeguards have yet to be implemented, but so far that doesn’t seem to be stopping the Obama administration from expanding offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean. He announced a plan to do so in November — putting bowhead whales, polar bears and other wildlife in serious jeopardy, because any spill in the ice-choked waters off Alaska would be impossible to clean up.

“Ocean drilling is risky business. Today’s report is a laundry list of everything that can, and will, go wrong when we mine fossil fuels from the ocean floor,” Sakashita said. “President Obama should deliver on his promises for a clean-energy future to prevent the next oil spill and avert the climate crisis.”

The 2010 spill dumped more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Last spring, the Center released a report estimating the spill harmed 6,000 sea turtles, 26,000 dolphins and whales, 82,000 birds and countless fish and invertebrates. The spill is expected to affect Gulf ecosystems for decades.

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