NW leaders calling for changes in oil cleanup technology

Source: King 5 News

SEATLE - Protective booms, absorbent pads and skimmers are the most commonly used tools to clean up the Gulf oil spill. And those were the same tools used to clean up after the Valdez Oil Spill in Alaska more than 20 years ago.

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell announced Tuesday that the way we fight oil spills is behind the times.

"So what has happened is for the last 10 years we have kind of been stagnant as far as the level of technology development," Cantwell told a small group at Seattle's Fisherman's Terminal.

Cantwell said she is introducing legislation to stimulate development and oversight of new technology and planning for the big spills that destroy ecosystems and local economies and devour inadequate budgets to prevent them.

State Ecology, Port and private environmental groups all say that despite some advances,  we are in many cases stuck with 1970s and 80s technology when spills happen.

The group agreed that sending more Puget Sound-based spill protection like Navy oil skimmers and booms may leave us more vulnerable to a big spill but say we have to help out the Gulf during this tragedy, just as we would expect help from that area if we have one.