The EPA is reporting that water downstream from the Exxon Yellowstone River spill “…showed no detectable levels of toxic petroleum chemicals”. In layman’s terms what that really means is that, at high flows the oil spreads less destruction over a larger area. That’s not to say there is no health impact however,
Montana environmental officials told Reuters that in the week since the spill at least five people have been treated at local hospital emergency rooms for symptoms including dizziness and respiratory distress after being exposed to fumes from oil.
Let’s also not forget that CNN reported last year that the vast majority of those who helped clean up the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska are now dead.
In fact, the expert that CNN had on said that the life expectancy for those who worked to clean up the Exxon Valdez oil spill is only about 51 years.
And, of course, the cleanup is going along swimmingly. Steve Merritt, EPA on-scene coordinator, reports that, more than a week after the spill “… about 1 percent of the content of each barrel was oil, meaning 9 barrels — roughly 378 gallons — of oil have been collected.” For reference, that’s 378 gallons out of 42,000. Or less than one gallon of oil collected for every single cleanup worker on the river. And,
“We haven’t seen 99 percent of the riverbank yet,” Bob Gibson, a spokesman for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, told the Billings Gazette on Friday.