Big, Dirty Bathtub

What was originally described on local radio as a spill amounting to just “140 gallons of bunker oil” following the ramming of the Bay Bridge by a container ship last week rapidly turned into 58,000 gallons of oil spilled into San Francisco Bay, which will have «long-lasting effects»:

‘A major oil spill is making San Francisco Bay look like a dirty bathtub, and the ring of black that soils the shoreline is likely to pose dire consequences for birds, mice, ducks, fish and the smallest of aquatic creatures for years to come, scientists say. Hidden under rocks or lying deep in the sediment and soil in wetlands and the bottom of the bay, the residue from 58,000 gallons of ship oil could remain for years, daubing creatures with a fatal blob or contaminating the food chain. “It’s pretty awful,” said John McCosker, a senior scientist at the California Academy of Sciences.’

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard is «admitting some errors», including the whole 140 or 58,000 thing:

‘High-ranking California politicians and Bay Area residents angry about their oil-splattered beaches demanded answers Friday to why the Coast Guard took so long to notify the public of this week’s huge ship-fuel spill and how the sludgy mess was allowed to spread so far. Coast Guard officials acknowledged they had erred in waiting more than four hours on Wednesday to issue an advisory that 58,000 gallons – not just 140 – had spewed into the water after a ship rammed the base of a Bay Bridge tower, but they insisted their response was appropriate.
‘California’s two U.S. senators, San Francisco’s congresswoman, a host of state legislators and residents up and down the damaged coastline were not buying it. “Something went terribly wrong,” Sen. Barbara Boxer told The Chronicle when asked what she thought of the disaster response. “It was not handled the way it has to be handled. “You are talking about the most pristine part of the country here. We value this ecosystem. This is what makes the Bay Area special. It’s just unacceptable,” said Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.’

Unacceptable. But what’s done is done. We have to accept it. Like everything else in the last seven years.