"Is Washington Ready For The Next Big Oil Spill?"

"More than 5 billion gallons of oil are transported by boat and barge to the five refineries located in Puget Sound each year. With so much petroleum moving along our coastlines, accidents are, sadly, almost bound to happen. Is Washington ready for the next big one? That’s the question the state Department of Ecology had in mind at the first-of-its-kind “worst-case” oil spill drill off the coast of Anacortes earlier this month."

"On a calm, clear afternoon in December 1985, the Arco Anchorage made a routine stop in Port Angeles. It was killing time, waiting its turn to drop off 814,000 barrels of Alaskan crude oil at the Cherry Point Refinery, 22 miles north of Bellingham. Somehow, despite perfect conditions, the Anchorage ran aground. Rocks on the ocean bottom tore two long slits through ship’s hull; the oil began to leak immediately. Over the next few hours, 239,000 gallons of oil spilled into the harbor.

The crew notified the U.S. Coast Guard immediately, and within five hours, a contracted spill-response team had stopped the oil from gushing out. They soon realized, however, that  the equipment and manpower they had on the scene wouldn’t be enough to contain the spilled oil, and so they called for more help. Cleanup would continue for more than three months and cost $13 million. Finally, having recovered only about half the spilled oil, response teams called it quits. It wasn’t even one of the top five biggest oil spills in Washington state’s history."

Samantha Larson reports for Oregon Public Broadcasting April 25, 2016.

Source: Oregon Public Broadcasting, 04/26/2016