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September 27, 2021

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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…

The Exxon Valdez Radio Call (Videos)

It may be a while since you’ve heard this. It may have been 24 years. That’s how long it’s been since the Exxon Valdez made this radio call after it “fetched up hard aground” on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound on March 24, 1989. It’s always a tough anniversary. This commercial is aimed at those living in British Columbia, but it’s a powerful message and a good reminder for all of us. And their estimates of 10-15% recovery for spilled oil is sadly optimistic. It’s more like 7% if you’re lucky. More than two decades later, the stench and…

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,…