April 20, 2021, marks the eleventh anniversary of the biggest ever oil industry disaster in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, in which 11 people died after the Transocean semi-submersible drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank at BP's Macondo well location, followed by a huge oil spill that kept flowing into the sea for 87 days.
Deb Haaland, the recently appointed U.S. Secretary of the Interior, on Tuesday issued a statement commemorating the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
She said: "Today marks 11 years since the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. It is a time to remember the 11 men who lost their lives, honor those who worked to contain the spill, recognize the devastating impact the incident had on Gulf Coast communities, local economies and wildlife, and recommit ourselves to strengthening safety and environmental protections for offshore energy operations."
“Interior has made progress toward ensuring that operations in the Gulf Coast remain safe and environmentally responsible -- but we also know there is more work to be done.
“Just yesterday, the Government Accountability Office released a report highlighting needed reforms to ensure that offshore pipelines meet adequate federal safety and environmental standards. As we continue to diversify our energy portfolio to combat climate change, Interior must lead in the development of workplace safety and environmental protection strategies.
"The lives and livelihoods of Gulf Coast workers and communities, the health of our marine wildlife and coastal habitats, and the future of our ocean and waters depend on our action.”
A "vessel of opportunity" skimming oil spilled after the Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. - Credit: Office of Response and Restoration / CC BY 2.0