Oil Spill off Lebanese Coast Rivals the Exxon Valdez Disaster

| Tue Aug. 22, 2006 1:47 PM EDT

Check out these amazing and sad satellite images of the 30,000 tons of oil that has spilled off the coast of Lebanon after an Israeli bombs hit the Jiyyeh power plant last month (first reported here by our D.C. Bureau). To put this in perspective, in 1989 the Exxon Valdez spilled 37,000 tons of oil into the still-recovering Prince William Sound in Alaska. The oil in the Meditereanean Sea has already polluted some 87 miles of Lebanese coast and is moving north into Syrian waters and toward Cyprus and Turkey. It took several weeks to assess the situation and now the United Nations Environment Program requested $50 million euros from the EU to contain the spill. The oil has not only impacted wildlife (green turtle and tuna populations are now thought to be virtually extinct) but also fishermen and an already discouraged tourism industry.