Toxic Traces of 1969 Cape Cod Oil Spill Continue to Harm Wildlife

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On the foggy evening of September 16, 1969 the oil barge Florida ran aground off Cape Cod in West Falmouth, Massachusetts. 189,000 gallons of fuel spilled into Buzzards Bay, a major transit route for transporting heating and industrial oil and gasoline. Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have studied the oil spill extensively and the institution’s research has influenced national standards for cleaning up oil.

George Hampson, is one of the WHOI biologists who conducted the original research on the 1969 spill. We ask him why traces of oil still continue to linger in the Wild Harbor salt marsh at Cape Cod and what long-term lessons can be learned for those now dealing with the implications of the much larger oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.