UPDATE: Lessons for Hawaii in the Gulf Coast Oil Spill?
In the two weeks since a drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, millions of gallons of oil have bubbled to the surface. How would Hawaii be affected if something similar happened in nearshore waters?
Amid a slew of apocalyptic headlines about the 200,000-gallon-per-day oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, area residents got a bit of good news today. The New York Times is reporting that calmer weather is aiding cleanup efforts.
But Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana are hardly in the clear. Businessweek reports today that the fishing industry is already feeling the pinch, and warns that “there could be long delays if cargo vessels that move millions of tons of fruit, rubber, grain, steel and other commodities … are forced to wait to have their oil-coated hulls power-washed to avoid contaminating the Mississippi (River).”
I’m working on a story this week that will look at whether Hawaii is prepared to handle an oil spill. What would happen if an oil tanker bringing fuel to the islands crashed on a reef? We have so much expertise in Hawaii we’ve already sent our experts to the gulf to help out.