Lo, the media assures me: British Petroleum’s oil leak in the Gulf is our nation’s premier environmental disaster.
The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press – the right and left of
American journalism – both agree: our BP leak transcends by far the fabled Exxon ship disaster of March 24, 1989 which knocked Alaska on its financial keister.
Well, it is, and it isn’t. On paper it should be the worst man-made damage to the ecology ever inflicted. The Exxon Valdez was only one ship with a paltry 53 million gallons of petroleum, only 11 million of which leaked onto Alaska’s shoreline, while the BP imbroglio features a hole in the ocean bottom spewing up unlimited quantities of oil.
But so far, thanks to preventative techniques such as blocking booms and dispersant chemicals, damage to the Louisiana shoreline can’t yet compare to the misery Alaska suffered. Continue reading