YOUR FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS AT WORK
I know $20M ain't much, but I'm thinking it might have paid for an extra foot or two on a levee here or there. Who knows, right?
Anyway, a few lines from the piece tell you all you need to know about this latest boondoggle, an apparent sop to disgruntled Gulf State voters in an election year:
It was decommissioned in 1976.
Over the years, other ships have been turned into reefs . . . [those were] a civilian project, paid for with a combination of county and private money.
The Oriskany (pronounced oh-RISK-uh-nee) became the first vessel sunk under a Navy program to dispose of old warships by turning them into diving attractions teeming with fish and other marine life.
[Probable 2008 Presidential candidate & former flyer on the sunken ship, Senator] McCain said he had hoped the ship would be turned into a museum, but the artificial reef will "provide a lot of recreation and a lot of good times for people."
Local leaders hope the reef brings a long-awaited economic infusion from sport divers and fishermen. A 2004 Florida State University study estimated Escambia County would see $92 million a year in economic benefits from an artificial reef.
And finally, if I can beat this environmental drum I'm carrying today, why is it that I'm less-than-excited that the EPA "approved the sinking of the ship, which had toxins in its electrical cables, insulation and paint." I suppose I trust the Agency's estimate that "the toxins will slowly leach out over the estimated 100 years it will take the carrier to rust away," while remaining a tad skeptical towards its assurance that this process "should pose no danger to marine life."
For $20M maybe I'm looking for a stronger word than "should."