Facebook faces backlash from environmentalists and Oregon residents after drilling equipment was abandoned under the west coast seabed in accident involving contractor laying fiber optic cables submarines for the tech giant.
the Tillamook Lighthouse Herald and Oregon Live first reported the accident, which saw a drill pipe shatter 50 feet below the seabed after the drill bit struck a rock and became lodged in a hole drilled by Edge Cable Holdings.
Some of the equipment was recovered, but 6,500 gallons of drilling fluid inside containers, a drill tip and at least 1,100 feet of hose were left behind, according to Facebook. Oregon Live that efforts to recover the equipment could be more harmful to the environment than leaving it there.
Facebook said in a declaration at The hill: “The project has been delayed due to circumstances beyond our control, such as COVID-19 related disruptions and permit delays. “
The US Army Corps of Engineers said Oregon Live that the company plans to drill a new hole, when it resumes construction early next year, which means the equipment could be left there indefinitely, the report said.
“Unfortunately, during the last days of construction in April of this year, the horizontal drill pipe unexpectedly broke and the drill head fell and remains on site, approximately 50 feet below the seabed. . “
According to the statement, the company has worked with independent environmental experts and has determined that there is “no negative impact on the environment or public health from the drill head remaining on the site.”
Oregon Representative David Gomberg, who initially supported the project and worked to rally residents, told the newspaper: “Facebook has been a hostile neighbor. These people now have to worry about what has washed up on their beaches for generations. “
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Edge Cable Holdings must resolve a permit violation with the Oregon State Department of Lands for using the site as storage space in violation of permissions. Facebook also had 180 days to retrieve the material, or pay for a new permit to leave it there.
Facebook’s offer to build an 8,500-mile fiber-optic cable stretching from Asia to the west coast of the United States as part of a larger project to boost Internet connectivity has been opposed since the departure by the inhabitants of Tierra del Mar in Oregon, who were against its construction. the local coast. Still, the project received the nod from county and state commissioners and drilling began in early March, much to the chagrin of local residents who complained about noise and damage to their homes.