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25 Years After Exxon Valdez: 'It's Worse Than We Thought'
When it comes to oil spills, there’s no substitute for prevention. The trouble is, 25 years after the Exxon Valdez spill fouled Alaska’s Prince William Sound and four years after the horrific events in the Gulf brought on by the Deepwater Horizon blowout, we can’t seem to stop spewing oil into our waterways.
This NPR story about the impacts of the Exxon Valdez spill shows that the extent of the damage done caught the scientific community by surprise. Seems shocking, doesn’t it, considering the vast scope of the spill and the sensitivity of the habitats involved.
Governor Andrew M. Coumo is no scientist, but he still seems to get the seriousness of a potential oil spill associated with the massive increase in crude oil shipments on the Hudson. Cuomo compared the potential derailment of a train carrying crude oil to a nuclear explosion and said it would be impossible to adequately prepare for the destruction that a major accident would cause.
We agree but the trouble is that a major oil spill on the Hudson has never been more likely than it is today. There have been over a dozen big spills in North America in the last year linked to the recent boom in crude oil shipments by rail, boat and pipeline. The latest spill was on March 22, where 170,000 gallons spilled into the busy Houston Ship Channel in Texas City, TX, just in time for peak bird migration season.
Forty times more crude oil is being shipped down the Hudson today than just four years ago, creating what the National Transportation Safety Board calls an “unacceptable public risk” because much of this oil is being shipped in rail cars that just weren’t designed to carry such risky, explosive cargo.
Twenty five years after the Exxon Valdez spill shocked a nation, we seem to be at greater risk than ever.
That may be the biggest shock of all.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
by Jordan Davidson
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By Alisa Opar
For Chinook salmon, the urge to return home and spawn isn't just strong — it's imperative. And for the first time in more than 65 years, at least 23 fish that migrated as juveniles from California's San Joaquin River and into the Pacific Ocean have heeded that call and returned as adults during the annual spring run.
By Jessica Corbett
Dozens of students, parents, teachers and professionals joined a Friday protest organized by Extinction Rebellion that temporarily stalled morning rush-hour traffic in London's southeasten borough of Lewisham to push politicians to more boldly address dangerous air pollution across the city.
Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Moment / Getty Images
By Bridget Shirvell
On a farm in upstate New York, a cheese brand is turning millions of pounds of food scraps into electricity needed to power its on-site businesses. Founded by eight families, each with their own dairy farms, Craigs Creamery doesn't just produce various types of cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and Muenster cheeses, sold in chunks, slices, shreds and snack bars; they're also committed to becoming a zero-waste operation.
By Jessica A. Knoblauch
Summers in the Midwest are great for outdoor activities like growing your garden or cooling off in one of the area's many lakes and streams. But some waters aren't as clean as they should be.
That's in part because coal companies have long buried toxic waste known as coal ash near many of the Midwest's iconic waterways, including Lake Michigan. Though coal ash dumps can leak harmful chemicals like arsenic and cadmium into nearby waters, regulators have done little to address these toxic sites. As a result, the Midwest is now littered with coal ash dumps, with Illinois containing the most leaking sites in the country.