Friday, July 08, 2011

Photo of the Day: Cleaning up the ExxonMobil oil disaster in Montana

Photo from The Globe and Mail: "A cleanup worker uses oil absorbent materials on the Yellowstone River in Laurel, Montana. An Exxon Mobil pipeline near Laurel, Montana, ruptured and spilled an estimated 1,000 barrels of crude into the Yellowstone."

With all the attention on Casey Anthony, the debt ceiling, and the Fourth of July long weekend, this story didn't get nearly the attention it deserved.

But it's yet another environmental catastrophe caused by the oil industry, a disaster that hardly registers because there have been so many and because apparently we're used to it by now.

Yes, of course, these things happen.

But isn't that the problem? Even if there isn't negligence or incompetence -- and it's not clear yet what happened here (the rupture may have been caused by the surging river, but the pipeline may not have been entirely secure in the first place, and it looks like ExxonMobil hasn't been entirely honest about the spill) -- this sort of thing can happen. And does happen. And when the pipeline runs just eight feet below the river, well, the consequences can be -- and are -- enormous and devastating.

Meanwhile, the cleanup continues. As does the suffering -- to the environment, to animals, to humans, to the economy.

It seems to me we should care more than we do.

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