Special Update for November 2012
Thank you for your support for San Francisco Baykeeper. As we mark the five-year anniversary this month of the Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay, I want to update you on Baykeeper’s work to protect the Bay from oil spills.
Five years ago, the Cosco Busan side-swiped a Bay Bridge tower and poured more than 53,000 gallons of heavy bunker fuel into the Bay. The oil coated local beaches, left a suffocating ring around San Francisco Bay’s shorelines, and killed over 6,000 birds. Many who might have helped contain the damage were shut out, including city and park officials, and thousands of willing volunteers.
Five years later, has the Bay recovered? It’s hard to know. While little research has been done in the Bay to measure recovery by different species, the results of other spills suggest that impacts may linger for decades.
Could a similar disaster happen again? We’ve made valuable progress in oil spill prevention and response preparation, but more improvement is needed.
I served on the independent review panel that first evaluated the Cosco Busan response, and we created nearly 200 recommendations for improving response efforts. Since then, Baykeeper has worked to implement these recommendations by participating in local oil spill planning, taking part in on-the-water drills, advising the state’s oil spill response agency, and helping develop key oil spill legislation signed into California law.
As a result, coordination among government agencies has improved—response officials now notify local governments when a spill happens in the area. And many cities and park agencies now have personnel dedicated to oil spill preparation who participate in regular drills.
However, the Bay Area is still not fully prepared to handle another disaster like the Cosco Busan spill. Local cleanup plans won’t contain spilled oil fast enough, and a lack of funding threatens wildlife care and rescue.
And if you can, please make a donation to help fund Baykeeper’s efforts to safeguard the Bay from oil spills. We rely on the contributions of concerned community members like you to ensure that our wildlife and shorelines are protected.
As always, thank you for your support of our work for the future of San Francisco Bay.