By Dan Shapley
Ocean Tankers That Transport Most American Fuel Now, Mostly, Double-hulled
It's been 18 years since the Exxon Valdez spilled its load into an Alaskan bay, and the contamination of once-pristine wildlife and important fishing grounds remains today. A less noted legacy of that spill was Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which required oil tankers like the Valdez to install double hulls by 2015. That's right, the industry fouled the environment in an intense and very public way, and got a quarter century to do something about it. Still, the act is slowly having an effect. As of last year, 78% of the nation's 4,000 oil barges met the "new" standard, according to the Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration. Much less-well publicized spills continue to foul waters of American coasts, lakes and rivers. The double hull is a solution whose time has long since come.