Clean Ocean Action

Clean Ocean Advocate, October 2005

Environmental Disaster: Hurricanes Result in 44 Oil Spills

     As a result of Hurricane Katrina slamming into southeast Louisiana, the US Coast Guard and cleanup crews are working to contain 44 oil spills that have leaked more than seven million gallons of oil into the Mississippi River and nearby fragile wetlands.  Oil has spilled from industrial plants, storage depots, and facilities that line coastal port areas.  This amount of oil is about two-thirds of the amount that spilled from the Exxon Valdez tanker in 1989 in Alaska.  Incidentally, Congress is now considering expanding offshore oil and gas drilling in areas currently protected by moratoria, a consideration that would undermine states’ control over their shorelines and coastal areas.


National Number of Fish Advisories Increase in 2004

     A US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) database shows an increase in the number of fish advisories, a sign that pollution in our coastal waters remains a serious problem.  Fish advisories warn people of consuming certain fish from the nation’s lakes, rivers, and coastal waters that contain high levels of pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlordane, DDT, mercury, and dioxin.  In 2004, 3,221 fish advisories were issued, compared to 3,089 in 2003.  USEPA attributes the rise to more nationwide monitoring.  The key to reducing fish advisories is to track down and eliminate sources of pollution.  Contact your state health agency for local fish advisories.


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