Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oil And Water. What Would Happen Here?

I have to admit that when it happened 25 years ago I was totally oblivious to devastation that the grounding of the Exxon Valdez had on the environment in Alaska. I was young(er), big business seemed to be the rulers of all things including irreplaceable habitats. Sure there were outspoken opponents to oil tankers but then again there had never been an oil spill like the Exxon Valdez before so close to home. It could happen again in our back yard. Can you imagine the irreparable damage if this was to happen on the BC Coast?

Check out the recent article by James Gerken of The Huffington Post for a stark reality of what we could expect if another tanker spill occurred.   

Image by John Gaps III/AP


  1. Mark, I have many thoughts on this, as I have paddled in Prince William sound, and am heading back in just about 8 weeks. Do you realize in comparison to other spills, it was actually quite small? Do you realize that you can still find oil on beaches today? We plan to try and illustrate this in the film we are making. It is something I think about a great deal, as I consider myself an environmentalist, and still drive a car, and use plastic. Thanks for posting, and hope you are feeling better.


    1. Hi PO, yes I am starting to feel a bit better. Thanks for asking .... damn I miss the water. :-)

      Yes in terms of size the Prince William Sound spill was less than the likes of the BP's Deepwater Horizon spill. I think it was in one of your posts that you mentioned that you could still smell the oil from the Exxon Valdez spill and I am interested in your perspective when you visit Alaska this year.

      Likewise, I think twice about how I effect the environment and look for ways to become less carbon dependent. There is no getting around that we need oil and the products that are made from it but it does concern me somewhat about the amount of tankers that will be moving around our coastline in the near future. Not only will the Enbridge Northern Gateway tankers be of concern but the projected increased traffic (444 exports per year) by Kinder Morgan raises concerns closer to home. These tankers will (and do so now) operate right offshore Victoria and we see them regularly while paddling the Salish Sea. Can we stop them? No, they are going to be part of our future. Let's just hope that we don't have another major spill on the coastline.


    2. You both might be interested in reading Not One Drop by Riki Ott, a marine biologist (IIRC) who just happened to live in Prince William Sound when the Exxon Valdez ran aground. An excellent read.

    3. Thanks for read suggestion John. I'll have to check it out. Andy Rosenberger was the guest speaker from Raincoast Conservation Foundation at the SISKA meeting tonight who talked about the effects of an oil spill on the BC Coast.

    4. Yeah, Louise and I wanted to go to the meeting but just couldn't make it.
      The Ott book is a very good read. She mentions that the year after the spill, the salmon came back. So naturally Exxon said "See? It's all clean now!" The salmon came back the next year, too. And the next. But they didn't come back the year after that, and haven't been seen since.