Monday will mark twenty-five years since the tanker Exxon-Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef, and is reported to have spilled at least 11 Million gallons of oil into the pristine waters of Prince William Sound, in Alaska. I had to work hard to avoid such words as celebrate, commemorate or anniversary, since those are festive occasions. The massive Exxon-Valdez oil spill, however, can be considered anything BUT festive…especially to the area’s residents and its marine life.
Now, I believe that this is important since the aftermath might provide some insight into other environmental catastrophes that have happened since. Just a few years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil platform leaked a substantial amount of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, there have been numerous pipeline leaks across the United States, a failure to adequately clean-up hazardous run-offs in the Hudson River and, more recently, it has been reported that Duke Energy is accused to have leaked considerable amounts of environmentally-hazardous coal ash into important sources of water in North Carolina
Unfortunately, many in Congress and State Legislatures have continuously worked toward obstructing regulations that are designed to reduce pollution. In fact, a number of mostly Republican-controlled state houses have sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to prevent it from policing our Nation’s Air and Water. Unfortunately, they fail to consider that the Air and Water we have are the only ones we will ever have!
The linked article, from the McClatchy Washington Bureau, reviews the situation where the tanker Exxon-Valdez caused the massive oil spill in Alaska, twenty-five years ago. Over the years, there have been numerous reports of oil still on the surrounding beaches, in the feathers of waterfowl and a lack of recovery by some species of marine life. Now, if this is what we can see and know, what does the bottom of the sea look like in that area? Remember that, in an Ecosystem, all of the various animals and organisms are interdependent. Life, as we know it, depends on the weakest links.
As this article states, Exxon provided too little money and too late to restore the lives–and the livelihood of many residents and businesspeople in the surrounding area. Years ago, Exxon more-or-less said that it had cleaned things up, and was through with it. And, after the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf, where BP was fined $25 Billion, it chose to attempt to create a public relationships fairy tale about how it has invested $25 Billion in the United States. As it appears, corporations take risks in search of short-term profits; but, the Public is stuck with the long-term problems…left holding the bag?