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Environmentalists Worry Deepening Shipping Canals Will Strengthen Our Tie To Fossil Fuels

Daniel Parks, Flickr Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0
A tanker passes under the Richmond bridge on its way back out to sea.

Last month, more than 100 people crowded into a library for a public meeting in Pinole, a tiny city North East of Richmond. They were there to fight a proposal to dredge the shipping canal in the Bay.

It would allow bigger, heavier tankers to enter the Golden Gate and bring their supplies to the Bay’s oil refineries. It’s a move that oil companies say will be more environmentally friendly, but environmentalists think it’s a huge, deep step in the wrong direction. 

The Bay actually isn't that deep in certain places. The average depth is only 12-15 feet -- kind of like one big swimming pool! And the shipping channel in the Carquinez Strait where most of those ships pass isn’t that much deeper, so there’s not much room to spare. Especially if you have a full load of oil.

Click the play button above to listen to the interview.

Crosscurrents San Francisco