John McCain had planned to visit an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday to tout offshore drilling and the industry’s environmental friendliness, but Hurricane Dolly canceled his plans. Dolly hit land in Texas Wednesday as a Category 2 storm, cutting oil and gas production by some 5 to 8 percent overall. McCain and other Republicans have been pushing to allow more offshore drilling in U.S. waters, and emphasizing the environmental safety of offshore drilling is one part of the strategy. In a recent speech, McCain said, “As for offshore drilling, it’s safe enough these days that not even Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could cause significant spillage from the battered rigs off the coasts of New Orleans and Houston.” Which, it turns out, isn’t actually true. According to government figures, storms in 2005 caused 146 small spills in federal waters, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita completely destroyed 113 oil rigs and damaged 457 pipelines; the resulting oil spills were large enough to be seen from space. (But apparently not from campaign headquarters.)
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