1989 Exxon Valdez
runs aground in Prince William Sound spilling 10.8 million gallons of oil.
Animals killed include 250,000 sea birds,
2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, 22 orcas and millions of
salmon and herring.
Exxon is fined $5 billion in civil
court as punitive damages. Punitive damages overturned on appeal in 2007. For
the quarter ending September 30, 2007 Exxon posted a profit of $9.4
JP Morgan invents
credit-default swaps to give Exxon credit line for Valdez
1994 Scientists estimate that between 1800 and 1994
118 billion metric tons of carbon has caused naturally alkaline oceans to
become more acidic.
"In the oceans pH is a relatively constant
property, and it has not changed
over time scales of hundreds of thousands of years. The pH changes that are
occurring in the oceans today are truly extraordinary." - Joan Kleypas,
scientist National Center for Atmospheric Research
"There is growing
consensus within the scientific community that increasing carbon dioxide levels
will lead to acidification in the ocean, inhibiting the ability of small
animals such as coral, mollusks and some
forms of plankton to form their shells. These creatures are at the bottom of
the oceanic food chain. If they disappear, the oceanic food chain collapses." -
1999 Oil tanker, New Carissa owned
by Green Atlas Shipping and operated by TMM Co. Ltd runs aground off the Oregon
coast. At the time of the grounding the vessel was empty of cargo, but
contained 359,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil in six tanks and 37,400 gallons of
diesel oil in one tank. 200,000 gallons of oil, roughly half, were consumed in
the fire lite for that purpose. 130,000 gallons of oil remained in the bow
section after the burn was sunk in over 10,000 feet of
water 282 miles west of Waldport.
2001 A fishing vessel sinks in Prince William Sound, Alaska
releasing 35,000 gallons of diesel fuel
into the sound. Cleanup efforts tapered off after recovering 11,000
2003 Huge "dead zone" of water so devoid of
oxygen that sea life could not
live in it spreads at the mouth of the Mississippi River. It is estimated to be
between 4,770 and 6,900 square miles.
Oil from the sunken tanker
Prestige, which sank on November 19, 2002 off the Spanish coast, is still
leaking about 80 tons of oil each day. About 53,000 tons of oil remain in the
Los Angeles admits liability for over 3,670 sewage spills over
the past decade.
2004 An annual occurrence caused by
chemical fertilizer run-off in the Mississippi basin leaves a
dead zone of waters across 5,800 square miles of the Gulf of
Mexico. The dead zone extendes from the
mouth of the Mississippi River in southeastern Louisiana 250 miles west to near
the Texas border and is closer to shore than usual because of
winds and currents.
Connecticut shipping company,
the OMI Corp. is fined $4.2 million after pleading guilty to dumping thousands
of gallons of waste oil and sludge into the sea.
ConocoPhillips will pay
$485,000 in fines for Clean Water Act violations arising from a natural
gas platform in Alaska's Cook Inlet.
470 violations occurring between 1999 and 2004, mostly consisting of the
dumping of raw sewage into the inlet.
2005 Ocean fisheries have dropped to 10 percent of
their 1950 levels.
'Red' tide of plankton causes unprecedented closure
of shell fish fisheries along the coast of New
A shell disease that had struck over 30% of New England
lobsters. Researchers believe that
higher ocean temperatures have caused nearly a
third of New England lobsters to be inedible.
revealed that the American military used the ocean, up until 1970, as a dump for
toxic waste. The army, alone, admitted dumping 64 million pounds
of nerve agents and mustard gas, 400,000 chemical filled bombs, and 500 tons of
waste off the East, Gulf and West coasts of
America as well as around Hawaii and off the coast of Alaska.
agents, radioactive toxic
waste and other toxic chemical agents could
pose a hazard for generations. The impact of the
chemical dumping has never been
studied. Few scientists knew it was done, so studies of the decline in sea life
have never focused on the
possibility of leaking chemical
2006 150 "dead zones" have been identified in the
oceans, 90% of the large fish species have disappeared from the oceans in the
last 50 years, 97% of the elkhorn and staghorn coral off the coast of Florida has disappeared
since 1975, 75% of the kelp forests off the Southern California coast have
vansihed in the last 50 years and 650 gray whales have washed up dead or dying
along the West Coast in the past seven years.
Tropical fish are sighted
of the coast of New England.
The State of
California spends $33 million to offset private costs associated with
the dismal salmon fishing season. Catches are
one tenth of past average catches.
2007 Dead zone at the
mouth of the Mississippi River is estimated has expanded to 8500 square
Petroleum agrees to pay $20 million in fines for pipeline leaks and spills
into Alaska Prudhoe Bay.
Lack of predators in the ocean makes a lasting
impact on Northern Ireland's only salmon
farm. A swarm of jelly fish 35 feet deep
attacks salmon penned in nets off the
Glens of Antrium killing the entire farmed population worth $2 million. The
jelly fish, Pelagia nocticula, is
best known for terrorizing bathers in the Mediterranean Sea.
unprecedented, absolutely amazing. The sea was red with
jelly fish, and there was nothing we could
do about it, absolutely nothing." - John Russell, fish farm managing
Canadian researchers efforts to revive
wild salmon populations that were exposed
to sea lice infestations of farmed salmon
appear to be failing. Even though the wild fishery has been closed exposed
wild salmon populations are depressed and
declining quickly due to sea lice infestations.
405 dead zones, caused by chemical
fertilizers, are identified. The size
of dead zones have roughly doubled every decade since 1960.
ExxonMobil fined $2.64 million for improperly
handling and disposing of polychlorinated biphenyls ("PCBs") on an offshore oil
and gas platform in the Santa Barbara Channel.
A 337 page federal
fisheries report shows overwhelming evidence that the
pesticides malathion, diazinon
and chloripyrifos interfere with the ability of
wild salmon to find food, reproduce and
swim. The continued unfettered use of malathion, diazinon and chloripyrifos by
farmers "jeopardized the continued existence" of
wild salmon off the Pacific coast of
California, Oregon and Washington.
"Measurements of ocean acidification
in the US Pacific Northwest show acidity is rising more than ten times faster
than climate models have predicted." - Jessica Marshall
"Declines in seawater pH were expected to happen very slowly,
so we've been lax in dealing with the problem, but our study shows ocean
acidification may be happening much quicker." - Timothy Wootton
Hurricane Katrina was
expected.2005 Issue of
National Geographic magazine it is noted that sea temperatures in the
Atlantic Ocean have risen by one to two degrees Fahrenheit since 1994. Since
1995 the Atlantic has been producing hurricanes at a pace double that of
previous quarter century. The rise of sea temperatures in the Atlantic is
directly responsible for the severity and frequency of hurricanes. Lower temperatures
cause less severe and frequent
hurricanes while higher temperatures create more severe and
frequent hurricanes. In the
analysis presented it was predicted that
frequent severe hurricanes in the
near future could cause much more damage to the region than hurricanes in the
The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal (MRGO), a 76 mile channel
that provides a shorter route between the Gulf of Mexico and New Orleans's
inner harbor, was designed for deep-draft vessels that cannot fit through canal
locks of the global industrial canals. The MRGO, now called the "hurricane
highway," was directly responsible for the storm surge that breached the levies
of New Orleans. Responsibility for the damage done to New Orleans rests in the
laps of the US Army Corps of Engineers and the shipping concerns that used the
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