Friday :: Aug 1, 2008

Mouth of the Mississippi Gets Messier


by Jeff Dinelli

Wednesday the 23rd an oil barge being pushed by a tugboat with no licensed operators was split in two by a chemical tanker on the Mississippi River near New Orleans, dumping thousands of gallons of oil and causing a 58-mile stretch southward to be closed.

After opening on Tuesday, a disabled chunk of the barge leaning against a bridge shifted yesterday, spilling even more oil into the river and causing another closure and an even more disastrous mess. The barge was originally carrying 420,000 gallons, and clean-up crews have been working around the clock, though environmental officials are unclear where they're gonna dump all this muck.

Though oil floats on top of water and can be vacuumed and skimmed off the top, sediment will also float towards the bottom, which is much more difficult to clean. So creatures towards the bottom of the river are covered in oil globs, fish eat them, and the very busy fishing industry in the Big Easy and towards the river's mouth could serve said fish to humans. Environmental officials are also working very hard to save other animals covered in shit. It's a mess.

My favorite quote from the tv coverage was from a Mayor, I think, who urged citizens to drink tap water "in moderation," causing one local to ask, "So does that mean I'll only get moderately sick?"

An unlicensed tugboat pushing a massive oil barge? Our infrastructure is in fine shape. Heard a lot about it yet on the campaign trail?

Jeff Dinelli :: 7:33 AM :: Comments (13) :: Digg It!