Offshore drilling disasters are fairly hard incidents to cover up, at least if you live in a democratically-minded nation with a free and independent press. But what if you live in, say…China? Not so much, at least until all that oil starts washing up in other places.
From this story in the New York Times:
_Oil that spewed from an offshore drilling rig in northeastern China for two weeks last month has spread over 320 square miles, government officials acknowledged Tuesday, amid public uproar over why it took so long for fishermen, local residents and environmental groups to be informed of the spill. News of the accident emerged in late June on the microblogging site Sina Weibo and was not confirmed by the state-owned operator until last Friday.
_The government sought to play down the significance of the leak, saying the environmental repercussions were most likely insignificant and blaming the rig’s Western operator. News of the accident emerged in late June on the microblogging site Sina Weibo and was not confirmed by the state-owned operator until last Friday.
“…The case comes nearly a year after a major oil spill near Dalian, not far from the Bohai Sea, that also raised questions about whether the government was giving an honest accounting — and whether there was lasting impact on aquatic life. In that spill, an explosion ruptured a pipeline at an onshore oil storage site run by the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, forcing emergency workers to empty the contents of an enormous oil tank. More than 11,000 barrels of oil flowed into the Yellow Sea, the government said, fouling miles of beaches and a large stretch of ocean._
It’s perennially fashionable to gripe about our press, and to gripe about our government. Sometimes, however, you just have to put things in perspective. It could be worse, no?