Quantcast

25 Years After Exxon Valdez: 'It's Worse Than We Thought'

Energy

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.

Twenty five years after the Exxon Valdez spill shocked a nation, we seem to be at greater risk than ever. Photo credit: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council

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.

--------

Related Content:

Nearly 170,000 Gallons of Oil Spills Into Busy Houston Ship Channel

Activists Scale ExxonMobil Rig on 25th Anniversary of Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

BP Disaster Recovery Through the Lens of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Wesley Martinez Da Costa / EyeEm / Getty Images

By David R. Montgomery

Would it sound too good to be true if I was to say that there was a simple, profitable and underused agricultural method to help feed everybody, cool the planet, and revitalize rural America? I used to think so, until I started visiting farmers who are restoring fertility to their land, stashing a lot of carbon in their soil, and returning healthy profitability to family farms. Now I've come to see how restoring soil health would prove as good for farmers and rural economies as it would for the environment.

Read More Show Less
skaman306 / Moment / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a cruciferous vegetable that originated in Asia and Europe (1Trusted Source).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Tinnakorn Jorruang / iStock / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

The budding research on cannabidiol, or CBD, attracts a great deal of interest in the agricultural field.

Read More Show Less
Oksana Khodakovskaia / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a tree native to China that's prized for its sweet, citrus-like fruit.

Read More Show Less

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
During the summer, the Arctic tundra is usually a thriving habitat for mammals such as the Arctic fox. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Reports of extreme snowfall in the Arctic might seem encouraging, given that the region is rapidly warming due to human-driven climate change. According to a new study, however, the snow could actually pose a major threat to the normal reproductive cycles of Arctic wildlife.

Read More Show Less
Vegan rice and garbanzo beans meals. Ella Olsson / Pexels

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

One common concern about vegan diets is whether they provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Many claim that a whole-food, plant-based diet easily meets all the daily nutrient requirements.

Read More Show Less
A fracking well looms over a residential area of Liberty, Colorado on Aug. 19. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

A new multiyear study found that people living or working within 2,000 feet, or nearly half a mile, of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drill site may be at a heightened risk of exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals, according to research released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)

Read More Show Less