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Looking back at the 'Slick of '76'

Save the River
The Nepco 140 spilling oil off Mason Point in the Thousand Islands in June of 1976

On June 23, 1976, an oil barge called the NEPC-140 ran into a shoal on the St. Lawrence River, spilling 300,000 gallons of crude into the heart of the Thousand Islands. On this, the 40th anniversary, the ”Slick of ‘76” remains one of the largest inland oil spills in the United States.

Credit Save the River
Save The River Executive Director, Lee Willbanks, is designated as the "Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper."

That tragic incident changed how local residents viewed the St. Lawrence River. Many felt a strong urge to protect it from future catastrophes. Two years after the spill, a group of locals started an environmental group called Save the River, which still exists today. WRVO’s Julia Botero spoke with Save the River director Lee Willbanks about the spill, what’s changed in the way ships operate on the river over the last 40 years and today’s environmental concerns.