Gee, if so many people believe it, it must be true - except it isn’t.
In May 2006, the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) issued a report stating that as a result of both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the number of pipelines damaged was 457, and the number of offshore platforms destroyed was 113, with a total of 146 oil spills recorded.
A study of environmental impacts written for MMS by Det Norske Veritas and Company and published March 22, 2007 told an even more detailed story.
As a result of both storms, a total volume of 17,652 barrels (or roughly three-quarters of a million gallons) of total petroleum products, of which 13,137 barrels were crude oil and condensate, was spilled from platforms, rigs and pipelines. 4,514 barrels were refined products from platforms and rigs.
There were 542 reports related to offshore pipelines that were damaged or displaced, of which 72 resulted in spills that had a volume of one barrel or more of crude oil or condensate. These pipelines were reported to be dented, kinked, pulled up, twisted or bent, pinhole or valve leaks or other damages.
The 72 pipeline spills were accountable for about 7,300 barrels of crude oil and condensate spilled into the Gulf.
The report noted that response and recovery efforts kept the environmental impacts to a minimum, with no onshore impacts from these specific spill events.
However, MMS also noted that an estimated 8 million gallons (or 191,000 barrels) of oil was spilled from nine onshore facilities in the Louisiana Delta, where large holding tanks were breached by Katrina.