Make us your home page

As oil spreads, opinion shifts

While the huge and spreading oil spill is threatening massive environmental damage and the livelihoods of people along the Gulf Coast, it started with an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 people. Little has been written about them. Lest we forget:

Dale Burkeen, 37, crane operator, trained to lower crew members to boats in an emergency. He had returned to the rig from outside Philadelphia about a week before the explosion. He and wife, Rhonda, have two children, Aryn, 14 and Timothy, 6.

Donald Clark, 49, assistant driller, of Newellton, La., was expected to leave the rig the day after the explosion for a three-week break.

Roy Wyatt Kemp, 27, has two children, Kaylee, 3, and 3-month-old Maddison, with his wife, Courtney. He loved fishing and the outdoors and attended a Baptist church in Jonesville, La.

Jason Anderson was a father of two from Bay City, Texas.

Stephen Curtis, 39, assistant driller, was from Georgetown, La.

Gordon Jones, 28, of Louisiana, leaves behind a son and his pregnant wife, Michelle.

Karl Kleppinger, 38, of Natchez, Miss., was a Desert Storm veteran who spent more than 10 years working on oil rigs. He was a floorman who made about $75,000 a year working off the Louisiana coast.

Blair Manuel, 56, chemical engineer, was a resident of Gonzales, La.

Dewey Revette, 48, from State Line, Miss., was a father who had worked for the company as an oil driller for 29 years.

Shane Roshto, 22, was from Franklin County, Miss.

Adam Weise, 24, of Yorktown, Texas, came straight from high school to work on the rig in 2005. He loved to hunt and fish and play football. He was the youngest of four children.

Biographical information is courtesy of the Times of London and the Jackson County (Ohio) Times Journal.

Compiled by Times news researcher Will Gorham.

The growing environmental disaster flowing from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20 has prompted many politicians to adjust their views on offshore drilling. A sampling:

Gov. Charlie Crist

U.S. Senate candidate with no party affiliation

"Offshore oil drilling, I'm adamantly opposed to it.''

October 2006, as a candidate for governor

"People are suffering, and I got elected to help my state.''

June 2008, calling for an end to a 26-year federal ban on drilling in some gulf waters as gas prices soared

"(I am) intrigued by the potential to extract oil in a way that is safe, in a way that is clean and in a way that generates a lot of revenue for the state of Florida."

April 2009, as Legislature considered a plan to allow drilling

"That's horrific, and it certainly isn't safe enough. It's the opposite of safe.''

April 2010, after flying over the spreading oil slick

Rep. Dean Cannon

Incoming state House speaker from Winter Park

"We have the tremendous advantage of nearly 100 years of exploration experience and regulatory under- standing from both the federal and state governments, which will make such an expansion safer, cleaner, and more profitable.

June 2009

It causes me to want to examine what happened and how it could have been prevented, and we need to figure that out before we make any further decisions."

April 2010, after the oil rig explosion

Sen. Mike Haridopolos

Incoming state Senate president from Melbourne

"We will enhance Florida's economic sovereignty by considering legislation that would allow the state's Cabinet officials to open the waters off of Florida's west coast to oil and natural gas production. Florida can no longer afford to sit idly by as competing Gulf Coast states, and even foreign nations, reap the gulf's economic benefits."

September 2009

The spill gives him "great pause. ...Was it human error, was it sabotage or just the inherent risk of the operation? I don't know. I don't think anybody knows at this point."

April 2010, after the oil rig explosion

Marco Rubio

Former state House speaker and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate

"Drilling off the Florida coast is not going to change gas prices in Florida while Charlie Crist is governor, even if he's re-elected.''

June 2008

"A small minority of people in this country oppose this.''

August 2009, on website pitch for "Drill Here, Drill Now" petition

''I believe you can safely drill for oil. It's done all over the world, it's been done in the Gulf of Mexico. We should be very concerned with what led to this disaster, and until that question is answered I don't think we can move forward on anything else."

May 2010

President Barack Obama

"(T)oday we're announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration, but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America's natural resources."

March 2010

"We are going to make sure that any leases going forward have those safeguards."

April 2010, after the explosion, announcing no new offshore oil drilling leases will be issued unless rigs have safety measures to prevent another explosion

"Every American affected by this spill should know this: Your government will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to stop this crisis.''

Sunday in Louisiana, amid complaints the federal government did not react quickly enough to the disaster

Compiled by Times news researcher Shirl Kennedy

April 20 Explosion

and fire on Deepwater Horizon drilling rig,

owned by Transocean

Ltd., about 10 p.m.

Central Time.

April 22

Deepwater Horizon


April 23 Coast Guard reports oil on the water is residual from the explosion and there does not appear to be a leak from the well.

April 23 The search

for 11 missing rig workers is called off. They are presumed dead. See below.

April 24 Coast Guard estimates oil is leaking

at a rate of 1,000 barrels

per day.

April 28 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concludes that oil is leaking at the rate of 5,000 barrels per day.

April 30 Based on satellite imagery, industry experts estimate the oil might be leaking at a much higher rate of 25,000

barrels per day.

May 1 Ian MacDonald, Florida State University oceanography professor who specializes in

using satellite imagery

to montior deep-sea

hydrocarbon seeps,

says, " The spill is growing. I'm comfortable saying

that the size and extent

of this slick is 10 million


* The Exxon Valdez oil spill, the largest ever in U.S. waters, resulted in approximately 10.8 million gallons of oil released. Compiled by Times news researcher Will Gorham

As oil spreads, opinion shifts 05/03/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 3, 2010 6:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours