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Earth Science

Oil From the Exxon Valdez Spill Still Lingers On Alaska Beaches 261

Posted by samzenpus
from the sticking-around dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It's been 25 years since the Exxon Valdez dumped 11 million gallons of crude oil in Prince William Sound, and you can still find oil sticking to rocks. Worse yet, scientists say the oil could be around for decades yet to come. From the article: 'There are two main reasons why there's still oil on some of the beaches of the Kenai Fjords and Katmai National Parks and Preserves in the Gulf of Alaska, explains Gail Irvine, a marine ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and lead researcher on the study. When the oil first spilled from the tanker, it mixed with the seawater and formed an emulsion that turned it into a goopy compound, she says. "When oil forms into the foam, the outside is weathering, but the inside isn't," Irvine explains. It's like mayonnaise left out on the counter. The surface will crust over, but the inside of the clump still looks like mayonnaise, she explains.'"
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Oil From the Exxon Valdez Spill Still Lingers On Alaska Beaches

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  • Consequences... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Thantik (1207112) on Monday March 03, 2014 @12:04AM (#46385453)
    Consequences only exist for those too poor to fight them. Exxon should have been made responsible for taking care of the entire area until all the oil was cleaned up, but that would have driven them out of business...and we can't have that!
  • Re:Consequences... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Monday March 03, 2014 @12:08AM (#46385471)

    to be fair, if you punished them so hard that they went out of business, then they wouldn't be able to clean up. ideally you punish them enough so they pay a lot while remaining in business a long time to continue to pay a lot.

  • Re:Consequences... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday March 03, 2014 @02:08AM (#46385841) Journal

    "if you punished them so hard that they went out of business, then they wouldn't be able to clean up" So you're saying they should pay huge deposits before they get to do such potentially catastrophic shit? Agreed.

    Maybe this type of work, so important to all mankind, shouldn't be left in the hands of private enterprise?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @02:50AM (#46385967)

    I'm not a fan of oil tankers. They tend to spill and waste a lot of oil. Moving oil by rail is better, they don't spill as often or as much when they do. Pipelines are the best means we have to move oil. They spill much less often and are much easier to fix.

    Really? Well, no [businessinsider.com] and no [bloomberg.com].

    One must be careful not to confuse the frequency of spills with the quantity spilled, or the size of a spill with how much press it gets.

  • Re:Consequences... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @03:11AM (#46386007)

    What if they just sell off their assets and move on with life?

    Who would buy them if there is a standing order to clean up a mess before they can turn a full profit again? And who cares if they do? We want the beaches cleaned up first and foremost, and we want the assets that causes the fuck-up to pay the price. It doesn't really matter who holds the assets at any given time. Sure, revenge would be nice too.

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