Company Promises To Pay For Hawaii's Massive Molasses Spill | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Company Promises To Pay For Hawaii's Massive Molasses Spill

Matson Inc., the shipping company that spilled 233,000 gallons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor earlier this month, has pledged to pay all the costs stemming from the disaster that has devastated marine life there.

Honolulu Public Radio has the audio of Matson CEO Matt Cox saying his company "will cover the costs of this response, not the taxpayers." In addition, Cox said that Matson is not going to raise its rates to pay those expenses. And, he said, if the company can't fix whatever flaw caused the molasses to spill as it was being pumped on to a ship, Matson is "prepared to discontinue" such operations.

Matson has "ceased all molasses operations" in the meantime, Hawaii News Now reports.

It isn't known at this point how much the cleanup and related costs will be. Much of the thick, sticky molasses has sunk to the bottom of the harbor. So unlike after an oil spill, it can't be skimmed from the surface.

On Monday, the head of the Hawaii Health Department's Hazards Evaluation and Emergency Response agency said the fish kill stood at "just over 25,000." According to Hawaii News Now, "that's more than 10 times what the Health Department reported on Thursday and state crews are still rounding up casualties."

Why is the molasses causing so much damage? In an earlier report, Hawaii News Now:

"... did an experiment to see why molasses is so hazardous to fish. When we poured store bought Molasses into a vase of water we collected from Keehi Lagoon, the concentrated sugary substance went straight to the bottom.

"Unlike an oil spill, which can be cleaned by skimming the surface, the molasses quickly disperses to the deepest points. 'It's sucking up all the oxygen,' explained [state reef biologist Dave] Gulko. 'There's no oxygen at depth so the animals that need it can't get it and are suffocating.' "

Because the spill happened in a harbor and there's less circulation than in the open ocean, it could be months or possibly years before the molasses is completely washed away.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

How Scientists Created A Typhus Vaccine In A 'Fantastic Laboratory'

Arthur Allen's new book The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl describes how a WWII scientist in Poland smuggled the typhus vaccine to Jews — while his team made a weakened version for the Nazis.
WAMU 88.5

Two Chicken Megafarms Proposed In Delaware

Delaware is already a big state for the poultry industry, but proposals for two new megafarms could take things to the next level.

NPR

U.S. Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Decisions On Obamacare Subsidies

One panel threw out subsidies in the 36 states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges. Another said the IRS rule that set them up was legal.
NPR

Don't Pop That Bubble Wrap! Scientists Turn Trash Into Test Tubes

Researchers have stumbled on an ingenious idea: Use bubble wrap as a cheap test tube and petri dish. They've even run tests on blood that's sitting inside the poppable packaging. So how does it work?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.