William O. DouglasJan. 19, 1980: Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas (at right, standing at the left) dies. An ardent conservationist, Douglas served on the board of directors of the Sierra Club. In 1967, he led 1,000 people on a "protest hike" at Sunfish Pond, N.J., near an area that would be flooded by the proposed Tocks Island Dam. The dam is never built.

Jan. 19, 1991: In what has been called the worst intentional environmental damage ever, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein orders oil released from onshore and offshore wells in the final days of the first Iraqi war. Some estimate that as much as a half billion gallons of crude oil was spilled into the Persian Gulf.

Jan. 19, 1996: The fuel barge North Cape runs aground near Narragansett Bay, R.I., spilling heating oil along the Rhode Island shoreline. While the spill doesn’t come near the total volume of other infamous oil accidents, television news repeatedly shows scenes of oil-coated lobsters hauling out of the surf to die. In response to the TV images, consumers avoid lobsters from all waters for months.

Photo: U.S. National Park Services

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.

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