Multiple Mass Spill | Katrina | 11 Million Gallons | 2005

Until the BP Deepwater Horizon fiasco in 2010, the massive spills triggered by Katrina ranked as the nation’s worst oil disaster

Katrina Oil Spills 2005

11 millions gallons were spilled among 540 separate incidents and 140 “responsible parties”*

The toll on New Orleans wrought by Hurricane Katrina will continue to be felt for years and decades. Nevertheless, a certain amount of the human cost was self-inflicted, as was the mostly unreported environmental damage unleashed by oil and gas interests who failed to secure their assets.

Not that the State of Louisiana felt any sort of urgency to deal with the multiple mega spill. This is after all a petro state owned and operated by hydrocarbon extraction interests.

Nevertheless, in 2006, Oceanography magazine conducted a study on the combined spills and came up with these statistics:

The largest spills were attributed to Bass Enterprises: one for 3.78 million gallons and another for 461,000 gallons.

The second-largest spill, 1.05 million gallons, originated from a broken pipeline owned by Shell Pipeline Co. , as did a 13,440 gallons Shell discharge near Nairn, LA. Chevron Oil 991,000 gallons near Empire and 53,000 gallons near Port Fourchon. For their part, Venice Energy Services Co. spewed out 840,000 gallons near Venice.

This didn’t bother many people in the Big Easy. In 2008, Sen. Trent Lott told MSNBC, “We didn’t have one drop of oil spilt when we had the biggest hurricane in, you know, recent history, Hurricane Katrina.” A month later, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark told FOX “When Katrina, a Cat-5 hurricane, hit the Gulf Coast, not one drop of oil was spilled off of those rigs out in the Gulf of Mexico. So we know that the technology to drill offshore is extraordinarily safe and environmentally friendly. And it’s not something that we have to be as worried about as we do a refinery on shore or some other type of issue.”

But of course, both of these guys are full of shit, aren’t they?

The small agency in charge of gathering comprehensive information on the 2005 spill was still at it in 2010 when the BP disaster struck.

For a global perspective on oil and gas spills, explosions and other oily disasters, visit the CatMap PetroChemical Screw Ups Map

* Surely an ironic term

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