The Suncor Sand Creek petroleum disaster has profound implications on many levels.
On a purely personal and emotional level I have found the whole experience extremely distressing. The DSP is my river, my shrine, my temple and being the one to find it being desecrated was crushing. I love this river and am far from alone.
Will Rice from the Drake has a talent for capturing the odd emotional connection so many of us have with this river. I really enjoy his work which often manages to combine a series of quirky thoughts and images which seem oddly or even trivially connected into a profound package that speaks to me. He touched a nerve in this slide show video that I highlighted just less than a month ago. I refuse to watch it right now because this time I really will cry. Will published an article today titled S. Platte Bitten by Benzene Attack. This article perfectly captures the knot of emotional confusion and distress juxtaposed with a unlikely sense of hope that I am feeling in a way that I probably can't communicate.
I am also concerned with what this says about the capability of our government to enforce and regulate the environmental laws that protect our precious natural resources. I fear that this and other trends are indicators that we as a nation are on the path to in some small way repeat history. In previous generations the Denver South Platte could not support higher life forms, the Cleveland River burned and environmental disasters were buried wherever somebody could find a convenient rug to sweep them under. This is a grave thought. When considering such thoughts our emotional fears have validity but there is a time and place to set them aside.
I could be biased because Bruce Finley was a key player in getting the ball rolling on verifying the spill. Nevertheless in the area of fair, balanced, detailed and accurate coverage I have yet to find anything even remotely approaching his Denver Post article Cleanup orders at Colorado's Suncor refinery spill into Sand Creek officially issued. When Bruce interviewed me he continuously made a point to steer the interview away from conjecture and emotion towards the facts and it shows in his article. He has provided the most accurate and complete coverage I have found.
This article contains a significant amount of information that is disturbing or even frightening but I see something else right now. I may just want to see it. It may be that despite my best intentions I simply cannot discard emotion. Nevertheless I see some hope. Some indication that at least once the shit hits the fan our environmental agencies still have teeth.
I see other reasons for hope.
Denver Trout Unlimited (of which I am a member) was already working hard to protect the DSP. Without their influence I would have not have known that I could, and perhaps no even that I should call somebody. That knowledge should provide a level of gratification that can only galvanize and energize the effort.
The Greenway foundation is still here and they are truly a force to be reckoned with.
Finally the fishing and other recreational usage of this wonderful resource will continue to increase. As more and more people discover and grow to love this unique urban oasis polluters will find it harder and harder to accidentally or even maliciously desecrate the DSP. We are the front line.