Eight years ago, on April 20, 2010, BP's exploratory well located just 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana, blew out. The explosion killed 11 people, pumped 210 million gallons of oil into the waters off Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, and contaminated over 1,100 miles of coastal marshes and beaches.
It took 87 days to finally cap the well that we all saw on underwater cameras pumping seemingly endless amounts of crude oil into the Gulf the entire time. It was, as it has since been named, a disaster.
In deeply painful and long-lasting ways, the Deepwater Horizon spill showed the industry and the whole country the risks inherent in drilling, just days before the annual Earth Day celebration. Now, less than a decade later, the Trump administration is suggesting we expand the oil industry's access to pristine waters from coast to coast, including opening the Atlantic Ocean to offshore drilling.
Worse still, the administration is proposing this offshore drilling free-for-all while also calling for the repeal of the few offshore drilling safety rules that were put in place in response to Deepwater Horizon.
As a veteran of the oil industry, the first woman to supervise offshore drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, and a South Carolinian, I cannot help but be baffled by this decision.