Smells like Bunker Fuel

8 November 2007


A Container Ship in San Francisco Bay
1 Day after the Oil Spill, November 8, 2007

I went down to Crissy Field this morning to see if I could see any oil from yesterday’s spill down at torpedo wharf. The whole beach is behind police tape and helicopters are buzzing everywhere. I couldn’t see a lot of oil on the water, the coast guard has been sucking it up with eight skimmers all night, though the smell of bunker fuel is thick and persistent even in the salt sprayed wind of the bay.

Helicopters Taking off from Crissy Field
November 8th 2007

As I was driving back helicopters were taking off and landing on the old grass runway. Fire trucks, National Park Service trucks and reporters were everywhere. Bloomberg news came along and asked to interview me, (what a day not to wear makeup). My vanity aside, I had something to say about the use of bunker fuel. It is a dirty business. It is literally the bottom of the barrel the lowest of refined fuels.

According to the Marine Vessel Emissions Reduction Act (S. 1499 and H.R. 2548) that was introduced in May of this year “most marine vessels use high emitting diesel bunker fuel, a low quality petroleum, high in sulfur, that is capable of producing approximately 50 times more haze-forming pollutants than the dirtiest trucks on our nation’s highways”. Disgusting stuff and now 58,000 gallons of it are in our bay killing fish and birds and making people sick.

Accidents will always happen. Shouldn’t we use cleaner fuel so that if it happens again we have at the very least not allowed the dirtiest, most polluting fuel to be spilled. So get on the phone and call your congress person!

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