EPA Issues Permit to Sink Oriskany Off Northwest Florida

The Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday issued the Navy a permit to sink the retired aircraft carrier USS Oriskany off Pensacola Beach in May.

The agency issued a permit for disposal of chemical toxins known as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, aboard the ship.

The permit was the final hurdle Navy leaders said they needed to clear before returning the famed Korean and Vietnam War aircraft carrier from a Navy shipyard in Beaumont, Texas, to Pensacola.

The Oriskany is the first of more than 20 ships the Navy hopes to dispose of through reefing, and the lengthy Oriskany PCB disposal permit process is a first for the Navy and the EPA.

The Oriskany will be sunk with about 700 pounds of PCBs in its electrical cable, insulation and paint. EPA officials say it will slowly leach out over the estimated 100 years it will take the carrier to rust away and should pose no danger to marine life or humans.