Facebook has earned the ire of Oregon residents and officials for dumping drilling equipment of the state’s coast, 50 feet under the seafloor. The company’s subcontractor Edge Cable Holdings, Inc. abandoned 1,100 feet of drill pipe and exactly 6,500 gallons of drilling fluid, and some other drilling tools, in the ocean back in April. The company used all those for Facebook’s undersea fiber optic cable project but had to leave them after an accident that snapped the drill pipe.
With no plans of retrieving the pieces of equipment, the social media giant confirmed that the drilling equipment left behind during the incident is still at the site. A representative of the company said that Facebook performed an environmental assessment and “determined that there is no negative environmental or public health impact from the drill head remaining at the site.”
Despite the company’s insistence that the abandoned equipment won’t have effect in the environment, Oregon Coast Alliance executive director Cameron La Follette told the Oregonian – “This accident, which resulted in Facebook/Edge Cable abandoning equipment and at least 6,500 gallons of bore gel under the seafloor, occurred due to corporate incompetence, combined with negligence and extreme irresponsibility about Oregon’s priceless marine natural resources.”
Department of State Lands spokesperson Ali Hansen also told the publication that the state officials weren’t aware of the incident until June 17th, terminating any potential options for recovery of the equipment. She did notify, however, that the drilling fluid hasn’t spilled yet and that it’s composed of “biodegradable and environmentally neutral” components.
The agency has is giving Facebook 30 days to reach an agreement with the state regarding damages to be paid and to address “current and future risks and liabilities that may arise from the abandoned” drilling tools and fluid. Facebook also has 180 days to “remove the abandoned pipe, tools, and equipment and to consult the state before any drilling continues without causing damage to the environment or to apply for permits in order to leave the equipment at the site.