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Crude Awakening: When the $#!% Hits the Sand

Living in paradise, one can get awfully smug. My friends and I have a ritual of meeting at sunset on the beach about once a month. Plopped in beach chairs, toes in the sand, eyes on the horizon, and a syrah on our lips, we toast to our extraordinary good fortune. “Aren’t we lucky?” we gasp as dolphins and even whales dance past in the surf.
From our unspoiled, cliff-edged beaches, it’s easy to see why Oprah lives here: Where else would she live?! It’s easy to understand how we earned our highbrow nicknames: The American Riviera and the Galapagos of the North. And it’s usually quite easy to forget that at any given moment, countless gallons of toxic, black sludge are whooshing silently through pipelines beneath our shores.
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