With the great focus on global warming, especially with the conference in Copenhagen, it is not hard to realize the great changes occurring in the Arctic. However, global warming is not the only issue that the Arctic is currently facing. An all too common harm to the environment in the area is oil, and not just from the burning of it.
Prudhoe Bay, located on Alaska’s North Slope, experienced its second largest oil spill in late November. Not much information was available regarding the spill until recently, when the spill was tied to a pipeline which was blocked with ice. Overall, the spill on November 29th released 46,000 gallons of crude oil and water. The worst spill in Prudhoe Bay was 200,000 gallons in 2006.
Due to the building pressure in the pipeline, the pipeline burst and a two foot rupture was created. Subsequently the crude oil spilled onto approximately three-quarters of an acre of tundra in the area. Clean-up crews have been working on the spill, removing some of the ice and moving it to a treatment facility. Another method being employed is melting the snow and oil mass and vacuuming it up.
BP, which owns the pipeline involved, was the company behind the 200,000 gallon spill in 2006. BP is actually on probation due to that spill, which was due to a corroded pipe. The company paid $20 million in fines for the spill in 2006. As of yet no legal moves have occurred with the newest spill involving BP.