Monday, July 4, 2011

Oil Disaster on the Yellowstone - Flyfishing Armageddon?

As many of you know I am an avid fly fisherman. My adventures with the fly have taken me over the years to 12,000 feet on the side of Mt Whitney, to the rivers and tributaries of New Zealand and back again in search of pristine water conditions and hungry wild trout.

That's what makes the oil spill news coming out of Montana this week so disturbing.

Apparently, and who knew, Exxon had an underground oil pipeline running through one of the planets finest trout waters on the Yellowstone River.

This week that pipeline ruptured spilling 42,000 gallons of oil into the river system.

Now we all know how oil spill estimates turn out, so double or triple that figure and you have a virtual ecological wipe out on your hands for this rivers trout and supporting eco system, at least in the short term (5-10 years).

"The timing couldn't be worse," said Steve Knecht, chief of operations for Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, who added that the plume was measured at 25 miles near Pompeys Pillar National Monument. "With the Yellowstone running at flood stage and all the debris, it makes it dang tough to get out there to do anything."

Of course Exxon says they will "return this river back to it's natural state." Which is to say Exxon will rush an 80-20 mix into the region as BP did in the Gulf. 80% media and legal teams who will scour the area placing strategic media bytes and tying up the legal niceties, and 20% boots on the ground. A few sad sacks who need a job bused in for the mainstream media and bused back out when the media is gone.

While you celebrate the 4th of July today, take a moment to mourn the loss of at least 300-500 miles of the Yellowstone river, thanks Exxon.

Patric Douglas CEO

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