Oil Spill Season
Wow, what the heck is goin’ on in our oceans?
This has been an awful two months for oil spills, starting in late October with the Pemex oil platform accident and continuing crude-oil spill in the southern Gulf of Mexico; a huge oil tanker spill in the Black Sea; the comparatively small, yet still quite damaging, Cosco Busan fuel-oil spill in San Francisco Bay; a major spill, the worst ever in South Korea, that’s destroyed shellfishing grounds and coated beaches; and now, a 1-million-plus-gallon crude-oil spill by Statoil, the state oil company of Norway, in the North Sea.
Cumulatively these spills represent more than 6 million gallons of oil. What a mess. As a California state official noted, the ecological effects of these spills continues for years, even decades, long after our attention has drifted elsewhere…
These oil spills illustrate that despite industry and federal agency optimistic plans for mitigation and spill management, it just doesn’t happen. Even in situations where (as in SF Bay) containment was not only possible but the conditions were perfect for it, human incompetence reigned. Human error – in either captaining the ship or responding to the accident – will always be the primary reason oil and our oceans simply do not mix.
Yet these truths are rarely openly disclosed in management plans; instead rosy pictures are drawn up. The perfect response though will remain a fantasy, one which should not infiltrate management decisions regarding oil and water. …Add to these spill situations a fine layer of ice, now you have the recipe being created for oil and gas development in our Arctic seas. Management in this case is not only painting a rosy response picture but foolishly ignoring the fact that there is no effective way to remove oil from icy water.
Will there ever learn? Will people ever become perfect? NO.