The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently published a retrospective on a high-profile cleanup effort 21 years ago that offers important lessons for today.
The wood-chip freighter New Carissa ran aground near Coos Bay, Oregon in February 1999. The effort to contain 70,000 spilled gallons of the ship’s fuel and later remove the New Carissa from the beach lasted nearly a decade and was a major event in the state’s history. The incident command team, consisting of DEQ, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Japanese company that owned the ship, was one of the largest ever assembled in Oregon.
DEQ’s retrospective features testimonials from employees involved in the cleanup, vivid photos of the wreck, and stirring narration of crucial moments throughout the incident. Pieces like this can uniquely and powerfully illustrate the value of state environmental agencies and promote understanding of our environmental history.