Next spring’s sinking of the USS Arthur W. Radford will pollute the ocean with toxic waste, cost Americans jobs and hurt marine life by attracting fish to one area where they will be over-harvested, according to a report by the Basel Action Network, a national nonprofit group that focuses on environmental and trade issues.
The report from the Seattle-based group comes just months before the scheduled April sinking at a site 30 miles from the Cold Spring Inlet called the Deljerseyland Reef. The site is about equidistant from New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, and all three states are funding the project. The Radford will be the largest ship ever reefed off the East Coast.
Colby Self of BAN said scuttling the 9,000-ton Radford will take away jobs in the recycling industry, pollute the ocean with toxic Polychlorinated biphenyls and lead to overfishing. BAN describes itself as an organization that fights dumping of toxic materials and promotes sustainable solutions to the waste crisis.
Reef coordinators in the three states have said it will be the greatest addition to artificial reefs on the East Coast and a major boon to the fishing and scuba diving industries.
Bill Figley, who initiated the project as New Jersey’s Reef Coordinator, and who is now retired, said the Radford will produce more jobs on the ocean floor than it would if it were recycled.
Figley said if the steel were recycled, it would go to China to be turned into products Americans purchase, worsening the country’s trade deficit.
Figley also said the Radford will be cleared of all toxic materials before sinking and will help create more marine life.