Exxon Valdez Happened 25 Years Ago—but Isn't Over

Marybeth Holleman: We must 'stop using so much oil'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2014 12:44 PM CDT
Tugboats pull the crippled tanker Exxon Valdez toward Naked Island in Alaska's Prince William Sound, in this Wednesday, April 5, 1989, file photo.   (AP Photo/Rob Stapleton)
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(Newser) – Today marks a rather ominous anniversary: Twenty-five years ago, Alaska's Prince William Sound was devastated by more than 11 million gallons of crude oil that poured into it compliments of the Exxon Valdez. Writing at CNN, Marybeth Holleman argues that "was" implies an end that has yet to occur—"and likely never will." She backs up her assertion with numbers: As of 2010, the government determined that only 13 of 32 wildlife populations and habitats being tracked have either totally recovered or "very likely recovered." Some continue to fall under the heading of "not recovering," including a "unique pod of orcas" that will eventually be erased.

There is no hope that Prince William Sound will return to the "wonderland" it once was, writes Holleman, but its endless struggle can serve as an endless reminder: We must "stop using so much oil." And that's not just because of the potential for spills. It's because "burning this oil is destroying our environment through climate change. Right now, as the polar bears' ice shrinks, we are trying at a fever pitch to pull the very substance out of their ocean home that, when burned, will destroy their ocean home." Let's use this anniversary to pledge to do better, and start by putting a stop to drilling in the Arctic, she concludes. Click here for Holleman's full column, or read about a new oil spill in Texas. (Read more Exxon Valdez stories.)

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