Written by Jen Finn
April 26, 1986. We were all looking down our noses at the Soviet Union as Chernobyl's radioactive plume billowed over Europe and forced evacuation in parts of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.
We knew that only within the Iron Curtain could such a catastrophe be brought on by technological malpractice and bureaucratic indifference.
June 17, 2010. Estimates suggest that somewhere in the order of 80 million gallons of oil has billowed into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20.
That's a lot of oil, and the damage it will inflict on natural resources in the gulf and perhaps beyond may someday evoke comparisons with Chernobyl.
Unless, of course, we clean up the mess quickly and thoroughly.
Napoleon observed that "God is on the side of the big battalions," but that lesson has yet to be reflected in the cleanup effort. There are far too many photos of individuals and small groups, on beaches or marshes, seemingly toiling in isolation. Here and there we find the odd vessel or cluster of boats working along the horizon.
This is the biggest oil spill and potentially the most devastating manmade environmental disaster in history; we need cleanup crews reminiscent of the hordes of Ghengis Khan.
Perhaps the fact that we do not simply reflects the growing pains of a nascent mission. I am hopeful things will change in the days and weeks ahead, and that we'll see a force worthy of an invasion turned loose.
This is an awful mess, but it is quantifiable, and it is helpful to think of it that way. For example, as considerable an amount as 80 million gallons is, Maine's Sebago Lake, which has a surface area of 45 square miles, holds almost a trillion gallons, according to the local water authority. In other words, if Sebago were a tank, it would hold more than 12,500 times what has spilled so far — or what the Deepwater Horizon well would leak if uncontained for 2,000 years.
I don't mean to minimize the spill or understate the challenge implicit in cleaning it up, but to make the point that we can reckon with it if we remain committed to doing so with all the effort we can muster, until we are done.
There can be no, "We're doing all we can but at some point we will have to let nature take its course."
There can be no, "This, too, shall pass."
National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15
In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.
National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15
In this episode:
March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received
NMFS announced two changes in regulations that apply to federal fishing permit holders starting Aug. 26.
First, they have eliminated the requirement for vessel owners to submit “did not fish” reports for the months or weeks when their vessel was not fishing.
Some of the restrictions for upgrading vessels listed on federal fishing permits have also been removed.Read more...
Alaskans will meet with British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, when he visits Juneau next week and will ask him to support an international review of mine developments in northwest British Columbia, upstream from Southeast Alaska along the Taku, Stikine and Unuk transboundary rivers.
Some Alaska fishing and environmental groups believe an international review is the best way to develop specific, binding commitments to ensure clean water, salmon, jobs and traditional and customary practices are not harmed by British Columbia mines and that adequate financial assurances are in place up front to cover long-term monitoring and compensation for damages.Read more...