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September 22, 2021

Walking With the Ghosts of Exxon

It’s 5 a.m. on the 4th of July, and the alarm goes off. I open one eye and think surely I must have set it for the wrong time, but then I remember. Today I’m heading to Prince William Sound with Shannyn Moore and Zach Roberts. Our goal is to document the lingering effects of oil, still present in the Sound after the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in the spring of 1989. It’s 2010, and a child born then would be 21 years old now. It’s hard to believe. I was not in Alaska back then. I,…

Exxon Valdez – Lessons Learned & Lost

In recognition of today’s 25-year anniversary of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska (March 24), this seems a good time to reflect on lessons learned, and lessons lost. 1. Oil spill “cleanup” is a myth: Once oil has spilled, the battle is lost — it is impossible to effectively contain, recover, and cleanup. Exxon spent more than $2 billion trying to clean up its Alaska spill, but recovered less than 7 percent. BP spent $14 billiontrying to clean up its 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, and although they collected some at the wellhead, burned and dispersed some (with toxic chemicals), it recovered only 3 percent from the sea…

Exxon Spill – 25 Years of Tears

Time has a strange affect on events in our lives. I feel I’m looking through a glass of water when I look back 25 years to this day, March 24, 1989. I’d left Seattle University and the Ballard Lochs on the M/V Westward heading north through the Inside Passage of British Columbia for the sac roe herring fishery in Sitka. No time in my life is etched as clearly as that spring. There is a certain magic about following Spring to Alaska. Per my not so scientific study, I’ve determined Spring moves at about 9 nautical miles an hour, about…

Rep. Olson: Exxon Got a Bad Rap

Last week Exxon went to Juneau. Not just to lobby, but to appear for questioning at a hearing. The company has long kept a low profile in Alaska. Why? Maybe because its front men would rather not run into any of those Alaskans who waited 20 years for their 10 cents on the dollar.   And what would legislators want to ask the company that sat on its Point Thompson leases for three decades — until the state finally tried to take them back? Maybe some tough questions about how to incentivize oil production, and what specific projects would come…

Study Will Not Avert the Crisis

. One of our most dangerous self-deceptions these days is the belief that simply studying the impacts of climate change will somehow avert the crisis. It won’t. Studying climate change will not keep one carbon atom out of the global atmosphere. We already know enough about the disastrous impacts of climate change to know that we need to take bold, urgent action to solve it, and we know exactly what steps to take. Yet many in government, industry, and academia continue to insist that more study is needed before we take difficult steps to solve the crisis. Scientific uncertainty is…

Good Riddance Exxon Valdez

Some time this week, the ship formerly known as the Exxon Valdez (now the Oriental Nicety) will come to a controversial end. We would expect nothing less of the vessel, now known as the Oriental Nicety, that spilled in excess of 11 million gallons of oil into the formerly pristine waters of Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Its final resting place? As reported by Bloomberg News: …an oil-stained beach in Alang, India, where it’ll be recycled in the world’s largest and most notorious shipbreaking yard. The ship was sold for $16 million, and will be dismantled piece by piece. The ship is more than 70%…

Dear Mr. President, “I believe,” is not good policy

An open letter to President Barack Obama: Dear Mr. President, As a woman who worked very hard to make sure your last opponents were not elected — walking door to door in the snow on your behalf, registering more than a thousand Alaskans to vote, exposing Palin in the national media, etc. — I feel obligated to write you about a few of my concerns. Your secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar, recently told reporters asking about Shell’s recent drilling permits and Alaska’s Arctic, “I believe there’s not going to be an oil spill.” Sir, he just wrote the headline for the first oil spill under…

Sean Parnell Still Works for the Oil Companies

By Shannyn Moore – Cross-posted from the Anchorage Daily News On Thursday, May 20 1993, Bob Van Brocklin left a suicide letter. “The stress from Exxon which brought about my financial stress was too much to deal with alone. The end should be good and maybe my spirit will live. I have a lot of fear right now, but faith is all that is left. I wish I could have done more good for others but I guess my time is up.” Bob was the former mayor of Cordova. He shot himself. Bob sat in the Cordova High School on the…

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill – A Cautionary Tale for Arctic Ocean Drilling

~A footprint fills with oil on Knight Island in Prince William Sound more than 20 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Photo J. Devon By Richard Steiner As the Obama administration prepares to issue final permits for exploratory oil drilling on the outer continental shelf off Alaska’s Arctic coast this summer, the public is hearing some familiar promises from industry and government – the risk of a catastrophic oil spill is small, best available technology will be used to prevent spills, any oil spill will be effectively contained and cleaned up, government will keep a vigilant eye on industry,…

The Exxon Valdez Gets Its Death Sentence

The artist tanker formerly known as the Exxon Valdez has gotten its death sentence. It has been sold for scrap for about $16 million. The tanker, which was only a shiny new three year old in 1989 when it slammed into Bligh Reef, causing devastation of people, marine life, and the economy in Prince William Sound, has had an odd history which is almost at an end. The Dallas Morning News reports: Twenty-three years after the oil supertanker became synonymous with what its Irving-based owner at the time calls “one of the lowest points in ExxonMobil’s 125-year history,” the ship is…