Debate Rages in Spain After Oil Spill

Estimates put the total clean-up and fishing sector losses at $9.2 billion over a decade.

Published: 12-Nov-2003

MUXIA, Spain (AP) - The black tide that smothered Spain's pristine northwest coast after an oil spill a year ago is gone. Beaches have been scoured clean, and fishermen are again fetching top prices for the region's prized fish and shellfish.

But as Spain marks the first anniversary of the sinking of the oil tanker Prestige, officials and marine experts are locked in a bitter dispute over the environmental threat that lurks beneath Galicia's choppy waters.

Government officials say the damage will be minimal to Galicia, a region of breathtaking beauty and one of the world's richest fishing grounds. But critics say it's too soon to tell and the estimated $10 million allocated for studies is a pittance.

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