Monday was the 25-year anniversary of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. Now seems a good time to reflect on lessons learned, and lessons lost.
1. Oil spill “cleanup” is a myth. Once oil has spilled, it is impossible to effectively contain it, recover it, and clean it up.
Exxon spent more than $2 billion trying to clean up its Alaska spill, but recovered less than 7 percent. BP spent $14 billion trying to clean up its 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, and although they collected some at the wellhead, burned and dispersed some (with toxic chemicals), it recovered only 3 percent from the sea surface and beaches.