Oil Stories: Not Just in the Gulf

Two other oil stories worth looking at along with the daily coverage of the gusher in the gulf.

An Oil Spill Grows in Brooklyn

WITH an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil spilling from the Deepwater Horizon site every day — for a total of some 3.3 million gallons, so far — the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico may eventually prove to be the largest oil spill in American history.

But New Yorkers forget, or don’t know, that a much larger oil spill sits in our own backyard: an estimated 17 million to 30 million gallons of oil, benzene, naptha and other carcinogenic chemicals pollute Newtown Creek and a swath of soil roughly 55 acres wide and up to 25 feet deep, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NY Times: Prud’Homme

Drilling critics warn of spill in Arctic Ocean

Shell Oil two years ago spent $2.1 billion for leases in the Chukchi, the arm of the Arctic Ocean that the United States shares with Russia, and the home to one of America’s two polar bear populations.

…Alaska’s indigenous people and environmentalists say a catastrophic spill in the Chukchi would leave the petroleum company without backup resources considered routine in the rest of the country.

The nearest Coast Guard base is Kodiak, more than 900 air miles away. Nearby coastal communities such as Point Hope are tiny and lack deep-water harbors and large airports. Cleanup assets are stationed at Prudhoe Bay, hundreds of miles away on Alaska’s north coast. Unlike at Prince William Sound, where more than 300 fishing boats are under contract to lay down boom if another supertanker hits a reef like the Exxon Valdez, there’s no one to call for local assistance.

If a blowout occurred late in the summer, it could be impossible for another rig to arrive and drill a relief well before the water freezes, leaving a well to flow until it plugged itself or spill response vessels reached it the following summer, according to drilling opponents. AP: Joling

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