A Valdez Oil Spill Argot
High-energy beaches: Those exposed to heavy surf and tidal action. These generally received the most cleaning over the winter. Low-energy beaches: This has nothing to do with the metabolism of Los Angeles beachgoers. It refers to the sheltered coves of Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska that acted as natural catch basins for the oil after the spill and which remain the most heavily fouled today.
Mousse: A frothy oil and water emulsion that was several inches thick on some beaches last summer. Less is there today. Much of what remains is stained rocks, tar, asphalt-like mats, or, below the surface, pools of oil.
Spillionaires: Fishermen and others who made as much as $3,000 a day last summer hiring out their boats for the cleanup. Others, though, felt they were left out or short-changed. The cleanup armada will be far smaller this summer, as will the size of the crew needed on the beaches.
VECOmobiles: One of the spoils of the spillionaires. Vehicles, usually four-wheel-drive trucks, bought by residents of Cordova and other villages from money made in the cleanup. They are named after VECO, Exxon's principal contractor that hired the crews.