CNN's Velshi falsely claimed "no oil shed into the Gulf of Mexico" because of Hurricane Katrina

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

On CNN Newsroom, Ali Velshi falsely claimed, "In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 40 of these [offshore drilling] platforms, but still no oil shed into the Gulf of Mexico because of that." In fact, a 2007 report prepared for the federal government by an international consulting firm identified damage from Katrina to 27 platforms and rigs that resulted in the spilling of approximately 2,843 barrels of petroleum products into the Gulf of Mexico.

During the August 31 edition of CNN Newsroom, while discussing Hurricane Gustav, senior business correspondent Ali Velshi falsely claimed, "In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 40 of these [offshore drilling] platforms, but still no oil shed into the Gulf of Mexico because of that." In fact, a 2007 report prepared for the U.S. Minerals Management Service by the international consulting firm Det Norske Veritas identified damage from Katrina to 27 platforms and rigs that resulted in the spilling of approximately 2,843 barrels of petroleum products into the Gulf of Mexico. The report further found that when also considering damage done to oil pipelines, a total of approximately 5,552 barrels of petroleum products spilled into the Gulf of Mexico as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

From the 2 p.m. ET hour of CNN Newsroom on August 31:

VELSHI: I want to tell you something else. We are right next to Port Fourchon, which is where most of the offshore oil in the United States comes in. Now, this is -- this storm is tracking toward this area, and there's a lot of concern about what's going to happen to oil facilities.

After Hurricane Katrina, there were a lot of facilities damaged, as you recall. So there's been an unprecedented move this afternoon: Oil trading has already begun. Usually, electronic trading begins at 6 p.m. Eastern, to coincide with the opening of markets in Asia. It has started three and a half hours early, just moments ago, so that people who are a little concerned about what's going to happen to oil can start trading already.

So we will know within the next hour or two what effect this tracking of the storm is having on the price of oil. And of course, we'll have a very full picture of it by about tomorrow this time, Richard.

RICHARD LUI (anchor): And Ali is our senior business correspondent. He wears lots of hats. Today, it's a fire department hat. As we've been saying, the last couple of days, you were out, actually, there in the Gulf looking at many of the rigs. And I guess all of them have been evacuated right now that need to be.

VELSHI: You can see about two dozen from where I am right now. They're not too far offshore. Everything that is in the path of this storm has been evacuated. There are no workers in the path of this storm in the Gulf of Mexico right now. And yeah, it was the fire department who's been showing us around. They took us out on a boat. We were up next to one. They've all been evacuated. We saw helicopters going by; that's how they get the folks off the rigs. They're not taking any chances with people there.

And by the way, Richard, before they evacuate those rigs, they have to seal them down completely so that if the rigs are damaged or blown off their moorings, no oil will flow into the Gulf of Mexico. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 40 of these platforms, but still no oil shed into the Gulf of Mexico because of that. The Department of the Interior, which supervises that, is pretty strict about it, Richard.

LUI: Ali Velshi there in Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Posted In
Environment & Science
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Ali Velshi
Show/Publication
CNN Newsroom
Stories/Interests
Hurricane Katrina, Natural Disasters
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