Facebook Buries Thousands of Gallons of Drilling Fluid

The social media giant plans to leave damaged supplies from an undersea cable project buried off the West Coast.

In 2018, Facebook purchased a half-million-dollar piece of beachfront property in Tierra Del Mar, Ore., with the goal of constructing an 8,500-mile fiber-optic cable running between the U.S. and Asia.

The project commenced earlier this year, but hit a snag in April when a drill pipe broke off 50 feet below the seabed.

Facebook subsidiary Edge Cable Holdings reportedly intends to continue with the project early next year, so their plan is to simply leave the supplies — which, according to a report from Oregon Live, encompass about 1,100 feet of drill pipe, assorted tools and equipment, and 6,500 gallons of drilling fluid — under the seafloor.

Not surprisingly, residents in the area, who were already skeptical of the project and the company, failed to like Facebook’s response. Facebook states there are no environmental concerns due to the drilling fluid’s environmentally neutral composition and the lack of any leak or spill from the fluid’s containers.

Local residents, and the state of Oregon, are not on the same page with Facebook. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based social media giant has been given 30 days to negotiate an agreement on how to address the abandoned drilling equipment, as well as a 180-day deadline to remove the supplies without causing damage to the environment.

Failing to comply would put the company in an all-too-familiar position: dealing with fines and legal action. Oregon was originally chosen as the starting point for the cable because of its relaxed regulations for such projects.

The goal of this cable would be to connect with the Jupiter cable already in place to help improve the bandwidth of connections with Japan, the Philippines and Hong Kong.

Perhaps Oregon state Rep. David Gomberg summed the situation up best by simply stating that, “Facebook has been an unfriendly neighbor.”

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