Fox News' Gallagher repeated debunked seepage myth

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

On Fox News' The Live Desk, Trace Gallagher repeated a debunked oil drilling myth, claiming that "more oil seeps through the ground off the coast of California than is ever spilled out there. So you're going to have much more environmental damage." In fact, according to a County of Santa Barbara report, "The evidence is clear that, far from being invisible against a background of seeps, major spills can have far greater and qualitatively different impacts on the environment than do seeps."

During the September 15 edition of Fox News' The Live Desk, co-host Trace Gallagher repeated a debunked oil drilling myth, claiming that "more oil seeps through the ground off the coast of California than is ever spilled out there. So you're going to have much more environmental damage." In fact, a report by the County of Santa Barbara discussing the effects of natural seepage and oil spills, including a 1969 oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast that released an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil, stated that "major spills can have far greater" environmental impact than seeps have, as the blog Think Progress noted. In its report, the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Energy Division stated that "a comparison of the impacts of seeps and spills based solely on volume would be misleading. The evidence is clear that, far from being invisible against a background of seeps, major spills can have far greater and qualitatively different impacts on the environment than do seeps."

From the September 15 edition of Fox News' The Live Desk with Martha and Trace:

GALLAGHER: And what William has reported on before, which he left out of this, is the fact that, you know, he said one barrel of oil spilled -- more oil seeps through the ground --

MacCALLUM: That's right.

GALLAGHER: -- off the coast of California than is ever spilled out there. So you're going to have much more environmental damage. William, am I right here? You're still on camera. Much more oil seeps through the ground than is ever spilled?

LA JEUNESSE: That's right, Trace. About 60 percent of all the oil in the marine environment has come there natural, from seepage, and then followed by consumers and runoff from urban areas.

MacCALLUM: Right.

LA JEUNESSE: The amount of oil that comes out of platforms and drilling is less than 3 percent. A much bigger risk, and environmentalists will admit this, are tankers. So you've got 2,000 tankers going around the world --

GALLAGHER: Right.

MacCALLUM: Right.

LA JEUNESSE: -- much more dangerous than simply tapping it using offshore drilling. But this, of course, is just one of those bellwether issues that environmentalists are fighting on, because they fear, if we have more oil, that makes alternative energy technically more expensive, and only prolongs the period that we're on fossil fuels. And that is the much bigger debate that is going on in Congress, kind of the story behind the story, about why we may have an energy bill with no energy. Trace. Martha.

MacCALLUM: No, it's a great story. And just one last thought on it. You know, there's all this pressure about the oil companies, and, "Oh they make so much money." Oil companies have spent a tremendous amount of money researching and making this process as clean as possible, and they've done a pretty good job of it. When you look at the numbers of what actually gets spilled out there, it's extremely minimal. So something everybody needs to know to get the full picture of the story, you know?

GALLAGHER: It's very -- and that was pretty much the full picture.

MacCALLUM: And what a great job William did doing that.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Drilling, Energy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Trace Gallagher
Show/Publication
The Live Desk
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