Prestige Disaster Likely Worse Than Exxon Valdez Spill, Report Says

The leak from the oil tanker Prestige off the coast of Spain last year probably caused more environmental damage than the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, according to a new report by a private Spanish economic institute. Some 78,000 metric tons of fuel have been cleansed from beaches since the November sinking, and the Prestige continues to leak at the rate of roughly one metric ton per day. The estimated cost of cleaning up the Galician coastline is $2.8 billion dollars, about $800 million * more than the Exxon Valdez cleanup cost, and the harm to the environment and the fishing industry is also thought to have been worse than in the infamous Alaska disaster. Contamination from the Prestige put 16,000 people out of work and indirectly cost 80,000 others their jobs. The report also sharply criticized the Spanish government’s handling of the spill.