At TPC, we've been all over the disaster-in-waiting known as the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline as well as the 2010 BP oil catastrophe. The negative environmental impact of Big Oil's exploitation of Mother Earth has been horrifying to behold.
You'd think after all this time, there would be more attention paid to leak prevention and clean-up, because our food supply, our flora and fauna, our very lives are being tampered with on a gargantuan scale.
But did it ever occur to anyone that leaking molasses would have nearly the same effect as petroleum? BP goo, meet molasses goo. Instead of gallons and gallons of deadly sweet crude, there's an equally destructive abundance of sweet syrup.
Fish began dying en masse in the waters around Honolulu after hundreds of thousands of gallons of molasses spilled into Honolulu Harbor early this week, and there's nothing officials can do to clean it up.
Thousands of fish have died from the sugary sludge. Crabs lay dead along the harbor bottom while more fish floated listlessly, some seeming to gasp above the surface of the water contaminated by the syrupy sweetener.
The spill is one of the worst man-made disasters to hit Hawaii in recent memory, officials said, not least because no one has quite seen anything like it.
"There's nothing you can do to clean up molasses," said Jeff Hull, a spokesman for Matson Inc., the company responsible for the leak. "It's sunk to the bottom of the harbor. Unlike oil, which can be cleaned from the surface, molasses sinks."
You know what else sinks to the bottom? Tar sands oil.
In this case, the sugary glop "replaces oxygen-bearing seawater that bottom-dwelling fish use to breathe."
The responsible party is Matson Inc. whose ship was being loaded via pipeline with 1,600 tons of molasses for shipping to the U.S. West Coast. About 1,400 tons of molasses may have gushed out.
Matson says they're sorry. No worries, Matson, that's ok!
The unknowns: "What kind of bacteria will come to consume the sugar? How low will oxygen levels go? Will the water become more acidic?"
Groucho Marx, Danny Kaye, Ella Fitzgerald, and Jimmy Durante singing "Blackstrap Molasses & Wheat Germ Bread." Song from a radio show in early 1950s. Art & animation by Duff Hendrickson & Cosmo Spacey.