20 Years After the Massive Oil Spill, What Have We Learned?
As we wrote about last week, today is the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, a sad day indeed. There's a lot of Exxon Valdez coverage on the net today, about the lessons learned and those that we still have yet to internalize. Read on for a quick overview of Exxon Valdez coverage.New York Times: More Oil Moved, Less Lost
The Dot Earth blog on the NYT has a piece about how, since the Exxon Valdez oil spill, more oil is moved around the world, but less is being lost. They don't mention it, but double-hull oil tankers have obviously helped a lot.
They conclude with:
Still, there are lots of important questions related to humanity’s 150-year love affair with petroleum. Can expanded oil extraction take place responsibly in Arctic waters? Should the United States drill more in its own waters to rely less on oil from, say, Nigeria?
Bloomberg: Valdez Ghost Haunts Exxon With Spill-Prone Ships
Speaking of double-hull ships, Bloomberg has a very scary statistic:
Even after 79 percent of the world supertanker fleet has been replaced by craft with two hulls, Exxon Mobil Corp. remains the biggest Western user of the older designs. It hired more of the tankers last year than the rest of the 10 biggest companies by market value combined, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Exxon, the world’s largest oil company, has kept using tankers with one hull even as 151 countries have decided two are better than one for preventing oil spills and pledged to ban single-hull vessels by 2015.
Don't you already have enough problems, Exxon? Don't you have enough money to upgrade your ships? The good news is that this should change soon. In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act, requiring a phase-out of single-hulled oil tankers in U.S. waters by 2010. Let's hope this is enforced.
Reuters: Interview with an Eyewitness of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Reuters interviewed Dennis Kelso, who was Alaska's environment conservation chief 20 years ago (the whole thing is worth reading). Here's a highlight:
Beyond the ecological devastation, Kelso said, the damage from the Valdez disaster calls into question whether Arctic offshore drilling should be part of U.S. energy strategy. Clean-up and recovery of oil has never been successfully accomplished in rough, ice-laden Arctic water, he said.
Yale Environment 360: Impacts Of The Exxon Valdez Linger
Soon after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Exxon officials said that "within a few years" there would be no evidence of the disaster left. Well, they were wrong:
Sea otters once again play in the waters of Alaska’s Prince William Sound, and salmon and some other species have rebounded. But killer whale populations have not recovered, and the huge schools of whirling herring that fed both fishermen and animals have not returned, reminding scientists that nature’s responses are complex and unpredictable.