Here’s what McCain says about off-shore drilling:

“As for offshore drilling, it’s safe enough these days that not even Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could cause significant spillage from the battered rigs off the coasts of New Orleans and Houston.”

Here’s what The Washington Post says about off-shore drilling:

In fact, Katrina and Hurricane Rita caused damage to oil rigs and storage facilities in the Gulf, according to press reports and government studies.

The hurricanes totally destroyed 113 oil rigs, according to the government’s Minerals Management Service, and damaged 457 pipelines. The resulting oil spills were large enough to be seen from space, according to several reports.

A review by the Houston Chronicle reported that the two storms in the summer of 2005 caused 595 oil spills that released an estimated 9 million gallons of oil into the gulf, much of that from oil storage facilities on the shores. The government said there were a total of 146 small oil spills in federal waters caused by the storms.

McCain had planned to tour oil rigs off the coast of Louisiana tomorrow … The campaign canceled the trip late Wednesday, saying the threat of Hurricane Dolly in the Gulf made a helicopter ride to the rig impossible.

It may not have helped things that a 600-foot tanker loaded with oil and a barge collided Wednesday in the Mississippi River in New Orleans, leaving a 12-mile long oil slick in the river and closing a 29-mile stretch of the river.

Television stations reported the stench of diesel fuel wafting across the French Quarter.