It’s been 20 years to the day since the Exxon Valdez dumped about 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound, and the area has still not recovered. Oil, particularly below the surface, persists, and marine animal populations have not recovered. Still, Time reports, the Bush administration’s push to drill offshore in Alaska could subject the region to another ecological disaster.
“There are lessons to be learned from the Exxon Valdez,” one activist said, “but they’re not being learned well.” Money from the Valdez settlement funded a study that showed Arctic ecosystems were particularly susceptible to oil spills, but still the rush to drill is on. The new administration has made baby steps to curtail exploration, but it’s not enough. It’s “just such a near-sighted policy,” one fisherman said.