Tankers carrying the oil would join the heavy marine traffic that already churns through America's Gulf of Alaska and close to the Aleutian Islands, areas with rough seas and abundant marine life. The Gulf of Alaska is where a Shell oil rig recently ran aground. After crossing that region, the tankers would then have to navigate some of the most dangerous waters in the North Pacific, including Unimak Pass, a harrowing 10-mile-wide passage in the Aleutian Islands that is an important habitat for sea lions, gray whales, tens of millions of seabirds, and other species.Needless to say, "going green" carries with it unanticipated risks-and consequences.
Tankers at sea are more accident-prone than pipelines on dry land. And if a spill occurs at sea, it can be difficult to contain and is nearly impossible to clean up.
"People remember the Exxon Valdez and worry that sort of thing can happen again if these pipelines are built," Byers says. "Imagine oil-laden tankers passing through one of the richest fisheries in the United States. That will raise many concerns."
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Oil And Rough Waters Don't Mix
Why the Keystone pipeline is environmentally preferable to the alternative: