Will Politicians See the Light? This Illuminated D.C. Installation Warns Against Another Oil Spill

Conservation group Oceana says that upcoming drilling in the Atlantic Ocean is a Deepwater Horizon disaster waiting to happen.

(Photo: Oceana/Melissa Forsyth)
Kristina Bravo is a Los Angeles–based writer. She is an Assistant Editor at TakePart.

This week in Washington, D.C., residents caught an unexpected light show courtesy of conservation group Oceana. To mark the fourth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon spill, the nonprofit teamed up with media arts group The Illuminator to create a series of light installations that were projected on to district landmarks. The projections, which lit up historic buildings such as the National Gallery of Art and the Postal Museum, asked government officials to “stop the drill before another spill.”

“We go back to doing the exact same thing,” Oceana’s Dustin Cranor said. “The offshore drilling in the United States is no safer than it was four years ago. And now Congress and the administration is rushing to expand this dirty and dangerous activity to the Atlantic Ocean, and there’s a lot at stake.”

In February the Department of the Interior approved the use of seismic air guns to locate oil and gas deposits below the ocean floor of the Atlantic. Extreme noise pollution caused by the thunderous blasts can kill hundreds of dolphins and whales at a time, especially endangering the rare North Atlantic right whale. According to Oceana, only about 500 of them are left worldwide.

As wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico still feels the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, Cranor estimates that offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean may start as early as this year.

“Whenever we see offshore drilling, one thing stands out: We drill, we spill, and we repeat,” he said. “We don’t need a repeat of the BP oil disaster in the Atlantic.”

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