Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oil Spills R Us

Found it.  From 1989:  Economic and Policy Implications of the January 1988 Ashland Oil Tank Collapse in Allegheny County Pennsylvania. (big file).  Scary things buried in my office.  I have not even gotten around to scanning most of the appendices to that.
I didn't realize this, but the 1988 Ashland oil spill here was said to be the largest inland oil spill in US history.  The stats I see say it was just 'half' the size of the Exxon Valdez spill, but is that a half full or half empty kind of comparison?  The Exxon Valdez spill was epochal.  Half-epochal is pretty bad in context.  Despite a big response, most reports I see say they only ever recovered 20% of the spilt fuel.  So we are living with the other 80%.  That and a few hundred other communities downstream of us of course.

What Mr. Google finds for me:  This looks like just the beginning of some longer video, but on youtube is an intro to the spill.    A longer case study is here. Contemporaneous coverage was in Time Magazine and Potter waxed on the history of it all more recently.

I'm just wondering... with all the news about emergency response during snowpocalypse...  the best time to do emergency planning is when there isn't an emergency, or so they tell me. Sure might be a good idea for some of our Fourth Estate friends to poke into how prepared we are these days for something like this if it were to happen again.  One of the problems discovered during the snow storms was that we seem to have forgotten pretty quickly the snow storms of the not too distant past. and Snow Happens.  If we forgot about snow, what do we remember about oil?


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