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Oil Leak Threatens Great Barrier Reef

This weekend, a Chinese coal tanker ran aground on one of our planet’s most diverse and delicate ecosystems: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

The tanker, badly damaged and in danger of breaking apart, has already spilled 2 metric tons of heavy oil into the shoals off Queensland's coast in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.  In 2007, the same shipping company, COSCO, was linked to the major spill in the San Francisco Bay.   

This is Australia’s third recent major disaster, following the massive oil spill off Queensland and the Timor Sea oil platform blowout. Oil is extremely toxic to marine life and the damage to habitat can persist for years, even decades after a spill. 

In the wake of the Obama administration’s recent decision to open up a huge swath of U.S. waters to offshore drilling, this should serve as a warning against adding more oil to our oceans.    

Anna Gowan is a policy fellow at Oceana.


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The Scanner

oil rig

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Happy spring Friday!

Offshore drilling was on everyone's lips this week. And while we were disappointed with Obama’s decision to open new areas to drilling, he also cancelled four lease sales in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas that had been scheduled by President Bush and committed to conducting significant scientific research and monitoring before any new lease sales are held in those areas -- which is very good news for Arctic people and ecosystems.

Oceana board member Ted Danson talked about the drilling decision on CNN yesterday. If you’re incensed by Obama’s decision, go ahead and give him a piece of your mind.

In other ocean news,

…U.S. Department of State banned imports of wild-caught Mexican shrimp if they are collected in ways that threaten endangered sea turtles; in other words, turtle excluder devices are now required in Mexico’s shrimp trawl nets.

…NOAA administrator and marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco talked to Smithsonian Magazine about our changing view of the oceans, dead zones and a cohesive national ocean policy.

…Anderson Cooper dove unprotected with great white sharks in South Africa with “shark man” Mike Rutzen. The video includes disturbing footage of a shark being finned and thrown back into the sea, still alive.


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