An aerial photograph taken last week of a rip current 62 miles from the wellhead. Image courtesy of Blake Gordon
We asked Surfer Foundation's environmental director Chad Nelsen, head of their Not the Answer anti-offshore drilling initiative, to lend some perspective on the escalating situation in the Gulf of Mexico as continued efforts to stop the surging oil fail. Plus find out what you can do to help out (but get your HazMat training first).—Mary Anne Potts
What aspect of this disaster gets to you the most?
The element of this disaster that gets to me the most is that three weeks ago the oil industry was telling us that new technology has made offshore drilling 100 percent safe. Now we know that not only is it not 100 percent safe, the industry doesn't actually know what to do when there is a spill like this. It should noted that there was a similar deep water oil blowout in the East Timor Sea last summer that took 70 days to stop. Further, this disaster is revealing that the safety regulations for this type of drilling have been lax and not always in compliance.
The myths that have been perpetuated about offshore oil drilling are being exposed and we hope that the public will realize that new offshore oil drilling is not the answer to our energy needs.You are a longtime advocate of no new drilling through Surfrider's Not the Answer initiative. How would you characterize the efforts to stop the oil well from leaking?
I would characterize the current attempts as desperate. We are 27 days into this spill and its likely that millions of gallons are pouring into the Gulf of Mexico every day, with no real end in sight.