Thursday, May 18, 2006


With the smoke from yesterday's market implosion still fouling the air, it sure is good to see us getting our priorities straight. This piece discusses the "$20 million sinking" of a 56 year-old aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Mexico. This sinking, the article informs us, "was delayed for nearly two years by hurricanes and environmental permitting problems."

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.

(Emphases added)

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."


Blogger DED said...

I wonder how much it cost to sink the Spiegel. For some reason, I don't think it was that much, even adjusting for inflation.

I'm surprised that they didn't keep the ship around for target practice. Or is target practice for the Navy pointless? Our navy may be the greatest in the world, but it isn't the only one out there.

$20 million and they didn't even make the effort to strip out the wiring. I'd certainly like to see the allocation sheet for that project.

10:23 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

What's the Spiegel?

5:50 AM  
Blogger DED said...

The "Spiegel" is a cargo ship that was sunk for the same purpose but it was paid for by private donations and county taxes. It was mentioned in the article you referenced for this blog entry.

Sheesh Mike. Don't you read your own references. ;)

11:42 AM  
Blogger Mike said...


I think my memory went down with the Spiegel.

And I'm also guessing that a one week old post qualifies as "long term," so let's hold off on the short-term memory jokes.

12:35 PM  

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