can’t see the forest

They Leaked Their Oil in San Francisco

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On Wednesday, an 810-foot Cosco oil tanker slammed into the base of a tower of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. In about twenty minutes, 58,000 gallons of oil leaked into the Bay.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the U.S. Coast Guard reported for most of that day that about 140 gallons had leaked before revising their estimate to reflect a more accurate assessment of the spill.

While nowhere near the size of megaspills such as the infamous Exxon Valdez incident, which dumped about 11 million gallons of oil off the coast of Alaska, the proximity of this spill to a major metropolitan area and a unique, delicate ecosystem makes it a tragic event nonetheless. California Governor Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency, with many citizens criticizing a sluggish and disjointed response from the Coast Guard. Southern California, of course, is still reeling from a profusion of human-ignited forest fires which created thousands of refugees and caused billions of dollars in damage to property, exclusive of the immense devastation it wreaked on local ecosystems.

1996 Cape Mohican Oil Spill, CaliforniaAs of this evening, about 20,000 gallons of oil had been mopped up along the coastline. An official from the state Fish & Game Department was reported as saying that cleanup operations could continue for months or even years; over 100 oiled birds have been found thusfar, but the extent of damage to species and their habitats will not be fully grasped for some time, as the Bay currents continue to wash waves of sludge on the once scenic beaches of Marin County.

In 1996, a tanker dumped about 40,000 gallons of oil in the same vicinity (pictured). Cleanup continued for about two years.

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One Response

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  1. DaveJ said, on 11/10/07 at 4:57 pm

    Very unfortunate.


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