‘Drift cards’ found washing ashore

  • by CALI BAGBY,  Islands Sounder Reporter
  • Apr 16, 2014

Last week Sukima Hampton was walking on a friend’s private beach west of Eastsound when she was horrified to find a pink card with the words “This could be oil” printed on it.

“I was disturbed,” she said. “It really rattled my cage.”

The card was one of 650 “drift cards” launched along Salish Sea oil tanker routes by conservation groups from Washington and British Columbia to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The launching of the cards, organized by Friends of the San Juans in Washington state and Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Georgia Strait Alliance in Canada, is part of a study mapping the path an oil spill might take in the Salish Sea.

The cards were dropped at two locations: off Turn Point, near Stuart Island, where Haro Strait intersects with Boundary Pass, and near Bird Rocks in Rosario Strait.

This research responds to a sharp increase in fossil fuel export projects proposed in British Columbia and Washington state. The proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal at Cherry Point north of Bellingham and Kinder Morgan’s increase in tar-sands shipping from Vancouver and other projects will add an additional 2,620 ship visits per year to the already crowded waters of the Salish Sea, making this region one of North America’s busiest fossil fuel shipping corridors.

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