People telling us that technology cures all ills, and that more relatively dirty tar sand crude oil can be safely piped across the country, over groundwater, on the rails and even under the Great Lakes should consider this recent finding from Alaska:
The Exxon Valdez oil spill is not just an awful memory. Oil from one of the most devastating environmental disasters in U.S. history still clings to boulder-strewn beaches in the Gulf of Alaska—and could stick around for decades.Researchers presented evidence of a lingering, foamy, mousse-like emulsion this week at the Ocean Sciences meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Chemical analyses find that this 25-year-old oil is from the Exxon Valdez spill, when the tanker ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound (map) in 1989. And to the surprise of the scientists, the oil still has most of the same chemical compounds as oil sampled 11 days after the initial spill. (See "Exxon Valdez Anniversary: 20 Years Later, Oil Remains.")
The oil's presence in areas that were cleaned right after the spill 25 years ago points to the need to monitor certain environments long after the visible effects disappear, the researchers say.