O'Reilly claimed "when Katrina hit, none of the oil rigs spilled in Louisiana," but didn't note that 5,552 barrels spilled into Gulf

››› ››› LILY YAN

On his radio program, Bill O'Reilly stated, "Remember when Katrina hit, none of the oil rigs spilled in Louisiana." However, O'Reilly did not note that according to a report prepared for the federal government by an international consulting firm, Hurricane Katrina resulted in 70 spills from outer continental shelf structures with a total volume of approximately 5,552 barrels of oil and petroleum products, including 27 spills from platforms and rigs that resulted in the spilling of approximately 2,843 barrels of petroleum.

While discussing offshore oil drilling with a caller on the July 9 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor, host Bill O'Reilly stated, "[Y]ou have to have a sane environmental policy when it's 25 miles offshore that no one'll see and you've got technology that will prevent pollution." He added, "Remember when Katrina hit, none of the oil rigs spilled in Louisiana. So we have the technology. And in Norway, which is one of the most green countries in the world, they drill offshore, and it's a self-sufficient country now." However, O'Reilly did not note that according to a 2007 report prepared for the U.S. Minerals Management Service by the international consulting firm Det Norske Veritas, Hurricane Katrina resulted in 70 spills from outer continental shelf structures with a total volume of approximately 5,552 barrels of oil and petroleum products, including 27 spills from platforms and rigs that resulted in the spilling of approximately 2,843 barrels of petroleum.

The report included the following chart of oil spill statistics for damage to outer continental shelf (OCS) structures related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita:

Media Matters for America previously noted that during the June 27 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, former Republican presidential candidate and Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee falsely asserted, "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." Additionally, on the June 24 edition of MSNBC Live, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell failed to challenge Sen. Richard Burr's (R-NC) false assertion that "there wasn't a drop" of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico during "a Category 5 hurricane in the Gulf that really came twice."

From the July 9 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: Let's go to Dwight in Orlando, Florida. What's going on, Dwight?

CALLER: Hey, Bill, how are you today?

O'REILLY: I'm good, sir.

CALLER: You know, first of all, I've got a new definition for Ph.D. now.

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

CALLER: That's a pinhead Democrat.

O'REILLY: All right, Dwight. I mean, you know, you're a Republican, so I expect you would say that, but what's on your mind?

CALLER: You know, back in 1984 --

O'REILLY: Mm-hmm.

CALLER: -- Chevron had the leases for the Gulf of Mexico. And they found enough natural gas 25 miles off the coast of Pensacola to heat every home in the United States for the next 60 years. And I hear all these guys coming on your show saying, "Well, you know, we need to drill on the reserves that they've already got, on the grants that they've already got." And Chevron's had this for 30 years, and they can't drill because of a presidential --

O'REILLY: But that's a Republican play. That's a Jeb Bush play, Dwight.

CALLER: It was.

O'REILLY: Yeah.

CALLER: It's not now.

O'REILLY: Well, no, he's gone now. But president backed him up -- his brother backed him up. And look, you're right that you have to have a sane environmental policy when it's 25 miles offshore that no one'll see and you've got technology that will prevent pollution.

Remember when Katrina hit, none of the oil rigs spilled in Louisiana. So we have the technology. And in Norway, which is one of the most green countries in the world, they drill offshore, and it's a self-sufficient country now.

So, look, I'm with you. I'm with all of you guys, that we have to bring sanity into the debate. But part of the debate is alternative fuels. And that's an important part of the debate. And conservatives and Republicans tend to diminish that. I don't know why.

Let's go to Spencer in Vero Beach, Florida. What's going on, Spencer?

Posted In
Environment & Science
Network/Outlet
Westwood One
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The Radio Factor
Stories/Interests
Hurricane Katrina, Natural Disasters
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