Wednesday, October 8, 2008

AP: Hurricane Ike Environmental Toll Apparent

NOAA photomosaic showing oil slicks at Goat Island, Texas - September 14, 2008

The Associated Press reported "at least 448 releases of oil, gasoline and dozens of other substances into the air and water and onto the ground in Louisiana and Texas" as a result of storm damage and flooding of coastal facilities by Hurricane Ike. "The Minerals Management Service, which oversees oil production in federal waters offshore, said the storm destroyed at least 52 oil platforms of roughly 3,800 in the Gulf of Mexico. Thirty-two more were severely damaged."

The worst spill identified so far qualifies as a major spill by Coast Guard definition: nearly 266,000 gallons of oil released from a battery of storage tanks on Goat Island, Texas. Here's what that site looked like before Ike; and here's how it looked on NOAA aerial survey photos taken on September 14, 2008. You can see how the tanks got knocked around by the storm surge and wave action.

Where did most of the oil and other substances end up? Out in the Gulf of Mexico. Where we get a lot of fish and shrimp. Mmmmm....