Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Politifact: 7,000 barrels spilled into gulf in decade before now

The statement

"In the last 10 years we've only had 7,000 barrels of oil spilled in the gulf … not counting hurricanes. This well is spewing that amount every day-and-a-half."

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., May 4 in an interview on CNN

The ruling

In the wake of the gulf oil spill, critics of offshore drilling are calling on lawmakers to rethink domestic energy policy.

But Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., says the industry has a good record.

Oil production — a major industry in her home state — should not be shut down because of one accident, she argued in an interview on CNN.

"In the last 10 years we've only had 7,000 barrels of oil spilled in the gulf … not counting hurricanes," she told host John King. "This well is spewing that amount every day-and-a-half. So relatively speaking to the other wells that have been drilled, this is spilling a huge amount of oil."

We're not going to rule on Landrieu's underlying point, that oil drilling is safe, which is a matter of opinion. But we can explore whether she is correct about the magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon accident compared with others in the past decade.

Landrieu's office pointed us to a document prepared by Minerals Management Service, the Department of Interior arm that oversees oil production. According to the report, 31,122 barrels of crude, diesel, lube oil and gasoline were spilled in the gulf between 2000 and 2009. That includes 24,069 barrels spilled during six hurricanes. The difference between those two numbers is 7,053 — roughly the amount cited by Landrieu.

So, based on those numbers, Landrieu is correct.

But federal authorities say it's difficult to estimate the amount of oil flowing into the gulf. Initially, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that about 1,000 barrels of oil were leaking each day. NOAA increased that estimate to about 5,000 barrels a day (about 210,000 gallons). But scientists say it could be far more than 5,000.

So Landrieu is close with the 7,000 figure, but there's uncertainty about the actual amount spewing from the leak. We find her claim Mostly True.

For more rulings, go to PolitiFact.com.

Politifact: 7,000 barrels spilled into gulf in decade before now 05/17/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 17, 2010 9:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies find 24 dogs, 2 birds, 2 cats, 1 child in Hernando home

    Public Safety

    SPRING HILL —A woman was arrested Monday on charges of animal cruelty after deputies said they found injured animals at her Spring Hill home.

  2. New Graham-Cassidy health care plan stumbles under opposition from governors

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — The suddenly resurgent Republican effort to undo the Affordable Care Act was dealt a blow on Tuesday when a bipartisan group of governors came out against a proposal gaining steam in the Senate.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined by, from left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters as he pushes a last-ditch effort to uproot former President Barack Obama's health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. To win, 50 of the 52 GOP senators must back it -- a margin they failed to reach when the chamber rejected the effort in July. [/J. Scott Applewhite | Associated Press]
  3. Joe Maddon on being back at Trop, Cash, a new stadium

    Blogs

    More to come later, but a couple of quick early highlights from former Rays manager Joe Maddon's return to the Trop with the Cubs:

    Joe Maddon, right, speaks with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey before Tuesday's game at Tropicana Field.
  4. Former Lightning forward Brian Boyle diagnosed with cancer, expects to keep playing

    Lightning Strikes

    New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor said can largely be treated with medication.

    Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor says can be treated with medication, the Devils announced Tuesday. [AP photo]
  5. Editorial: Genshaft right to oust USF St. Petersburg leader

    Editorials

    In times of crisis, leaders cannot abandon ship and be unclear about their whereabouts. That is essentially what the leader of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg did with Hurricane Irma headed this way. Sophia Wisniewska's actions fell short of what should be expected from an experienced administrator …

    Sophia Wisniewska’s actions fell short of what should be expected from an experienced administrator responsible for the safety of her students and the security of her campus, and the move by USF president Judy Genshaft, above, to fire her was appropriate.