Environmentalists bemoan BP shutdown by Mitch E. Perry

08/09/06

Americans on Monday morning awoke to stunning news: The world’s 2nd largest traded oil company – BP had shut down its Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska because of corrosion in of its 3 pipelines. The company says it will replace about 73 percent of 22 miles of transit pipeline for the biggest oilfield in the country , which could take months.

The loss is significant – 8 percent of the country’s domestic crude oil supply.

Today several environmentalists blasted BP, and said that once again, the current situation cries out for the U.S. to begin actively supporting alternative sources of energy.

Karen Wayland is legislative director with the Natural Resources Defense Council (roll tape#1 o.q.�into serious question�)

A different pipeline ruptured in March, resulting in a 270,000-gallon spill, the largest ever on the North Slope of Alaska. That incident became part of a criminal investigation into the management of BP's Alaskan operations. It also prompted the Department of Transportation to order BP to conduct inspections of the other pipelines. BP then determined that corrosion and thinning pipeline walls were more prevalent than it expected

The NRDC’s Karen Wayland said that as long as America is – In President Bush’s words – addicted to oil – events like this week’s incident at Prudhoe Bay will continue to play havoc with the nation’s energy needs (roll tape#2 o.q.’kick our addiction�)

The Wall Street Journal revisited the President’s dramatic words issued in his State of the Union Address 6 months ago, when he urged the country to look at ethanol as a cure.

But since then they point out – he has NOT proposed new mandates for ethanol use or new incentives for gas stations to stock fuel. Bush is NOT making tougher auto fuel-economy standards a high priority and does NOT support a higher gas tax.

Eleanor Huffines is Alaska regional director for The Wilderness Society. She says over the past decade, BP has consistently failed to live up to its environmentally friendly image. (roll tape#3 o.q. “north slope at risk�)

Don MacKenzie is a vehicles engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists…He used the BP problem as a means to advocate for increasing corporate fuel economy standards. He said that if all the cars and trucks on the road today were to have their café standard increased by just 1 mile per gallon per day, that would alleviate the need to replace the 400,000 barrels of oil a day that have just been shut down (roll tape#4 o.q.’next 2 decades�)

Eleanor Huffines from the Wilderness Society says at the very least that she hopes the corrosion in BP’s pipes demands that there be Congresssional oversight – such as hearings – to deal with it (roll tape#5 o.q.�closely enough�)

The advocates also believe that this incident ‘complicates’ the offshore drilling bills that exist in both the House and was just passed in the Senate..

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