"An oil spill is the release of crude oil into the natural environment, usually the ocean."
"A release event is described as a discharge of oil in harmful quantities that violate
applicable water quality standards; caused a film, sheen, or discoloration of
the water surface; or cause a sludge or emulsion deposit beneath the water surface."
These are some of the standards by which we measure what counts as an oil spill.
One might formulate a broader definition, one that includes "release events" affecting solid
land, affecting plant life, animal life, even affecting our cultural landscape.
A broader definition of an oil spill is any discharge of a petroleum-based product,
whether deliberate or accidental, that adversely or measurably alters a natural
or cultural landscape.
Founded in 1970, the EPA strictly regulates oil spill cleanup.
In 1968, the government drafted
"The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan", which
established an infrastructure for reporting and dealing with ecological disasters.
The Clean Water Act of 1972 granted authority to both the EPA and to the Coast
Guard to establish prevention and clean-up programs to deal with oil and other
hazardous chemical spills. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 expanded the EPA's
and the Coast Guard's authority, in addition to establishing a clean up trust
fund — derived from oil taxes. This is a mere sampling of the legislation.
Yet even in the face of such legislation, and for more than a century, Media news organizations,
local and federal governments, even environmental watchdogs have been covering up
the largest oil spill in the history of humanity.
"Today, 96% of all paved roads and streets in the U.S. - almost
two million miles - are surfaced with asphalt. Almost all paving asphalt
used today is obtained by processing crude oils."
So claims the inadvertent origin of our exposé, "The History Of Roads And Asphalt".
Indeed, there is an oil spill in America over two million miles long. It's time we
did something about it.
A long-standing policy of dumping and pressing asphalt on to the Earth's
surface unquestionably counts as an oil spill. What makes the act all the more
criminal is its deliberate nature — we have intentionally
orchestrated a controlled dump, knowing the historically horrific impacts of
chemical and oil spills.
One component of the spill-damage is, clearly, environmental. It is difficult to
find a location in America where a road is not visible. Certainly, the
overwhelming majority of Americans have never been anywhere that there
aren't roads. Of necessity, this has an enormous impact on a peculiarly
American attitude toward the natural world — there is no state of nature.