There is a is a vessel in Bellingham being fitted to contain and clean up huge oil spills in Arctic waters, but right now it is sitting in Bellingham Bay with spill containment booms surrounding it. And leave it to the Bellingham Herald to support the Bellingham alarmist attitude with their own front page alarmist billing.
Really, what kind of image comes to mind when you read there headline “Oil-containment barge under construction in Bellingham spills oil” I know when I read it, my immediate thought was of how much oil was filling that containment barge and how much of it was spilling. I’m sure a lot of people were thinking about the Deep Horizon Spill as well as a few in Bellingham that were thinking about coal..ya know oil and coal are both carbon based. I was also thinking about how yucky and stinky it might be if the forecast of super hot weather turned out to be accurate.
Whatever your initial thought, I think the headline made it sound pretty bad, so it was a little surprising to learn that this headline is over 3 quarts of oil that they supposedly spilled over the course of the last 3 weeks or so? Okay now, that really is alarmist…3 quarts!
Three spills, each releasing about one quart of oil into Whatcom Waterway, came from leaks in pressurized hydraulic systems on July 24, and Aug. 4 and 6.
I’m not suggesting that it’s a good thing to spill a quart, or even three quarts, of oil into Bellingham Bay but let’s keep this in perspective. The way I see this big picture is that this is only 3 quarts and the sooner this ship is on station in the Arctic, the better the odds are that it will be there to clean up a lot more than 3 quarts of oil should it be called to a spill. So why hassle them over 3 quarts? Well the State Department of Ecology had an answer,
"They’re a quart at a time, but every time there’s a spill there’s more environmental damage," Ecology spokeswoman Katie Skipper said.
Wow! Every time there is a quart spill there’s more environmental damage, Wow again, where do we draw the line on how little of a spill is too little of a spill and how little of a spill does it take to call this harassment rather than enforcement? I wonder if anyone in the Dept of Ecology realizes that oil occurs naturally in our oceans and in fact about half the oil in the oceans come from naturally occurring sources. This is one of my favorites, it is a great historical description of naturally occurring crude oil along the West coast.
Pedro Fages, a Spanish explorer and military commander of the Monterey Presidio, in his report to the Viceroy of New Spain recorded the use of tar and oil by the natives near Mission San Luis Obispo. Fages’ account, written in 1775, mentions natives using tar for water- proofing baskets and pitchers and for caulking small boats. Fages also noted ” … pools of bitumen bubbling out of the ground” near the mouth of the Santa Clara River. In 1776, Spanish missionary Pedro Font recorded that “… much tar which the sea throws up is found on the shores, sticking to the stones and dry, little balls of tar are also found. Perhaps there are springs of it which flow out into the sea.” In 1793, during the travels of English explorer James Cook, his navigator, George Vancouver, recorded in his journal that they had anchored off of Goleta. Vancouver reported that the sea was “… covered with a thick, slimy substance, which, when separated or disturbed by any little agitation, became very luminous, whilst the slightest breeze, that came principally from onshore, brought with it a very strong scent of burning tar.” He continued that “… the sea had the appearance of dissolved tar floating on its surface, which covered the ocean in all directions within the limits of our view.” www.mms.gov
So again…3 quarts? If that is a crime then watch out on these upcoming hot sunny days because you never know how soon it will be until your kids, slathered with sunscreen, are slapped with a cease and desist order by our State Department of Ecology when they go wading in Bellingham Bay?
Sunscreens are a great way to prevent some of these harms, but unless you pick the right sunscreen it might be doing more harm than good, exposing you to even more health concerns while contaminating fish and water.
If you think that I am crazy or that I am just being alarmist, think about the thousands of people with just a little dab of sunscreen and remember what the Department of Ecology spokesperson said, “every time there’s a spill there’s more environmental damage.”