Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Environmental Disaster in San Francisco Bay a Criminal Act?

by Patt Morrison

Last Wednesday at 8:30am in a heavy fog, the cargo ship Cosco Busan struck the base of a tower of the San Francisco Bay Bridge's western span. It wasn't until later that day - close to 5pm - that the full ramifications of the ship - bridge collision were realized: At least 58,000 gallons of fuel had spilled into the San Francisco Bay, and the Coast Guard started a tardy cleanup process. By that point oil had soaked the beaches of the Bay, and by this weekend at least 200 birds had died as a result of the oil spill. Criticism of the delayed response to the oil spill is growing, and today a criminal investigation has been opened against the ship's crew and its owners. There's no doubt that the oil spill is an environmental disaster, but was the initial collision a criminal act?

* Debra Hersman, board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, on scene NTSB coordinator in the San Francisco Bay.
* Linda Sheehan, executive director of California Coast Keeper Alliance; board member of the California Office of Spill Prevention & Response
* Amy Standen: Reporter for KQED covering this story

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