1. Quarter century later, Exxon Valdez spill STILL not cleaned up or compensated for!
Ultimately, no one really knows what the long-term impacts of large-scale oil spills will be. Following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, for instance, the region’s productive herring fishery suddenly collapsed four years after the spill occurred, and it has yet to recover.
In addition, oil has lingered in the ecosystem far longer than many predicted. A 2001 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study surveyed 96 sites along 8,000 miles of coastline and found that “a total area of approximately 20 acres of shoreline in Prince William Sound is still contaminated with oil. Oil was found at 58 percent of the 91 sites assessed and is estimated to have the linear equivalent of 5.8 km of contaminated shoreline.”
In 2010, the journal Nature explained that some researchers initially calculated that Exxon Valdez‘s oil would dissipate within years or even months or that it would quickly degrade or be washed away by high-pressure hoses. However, due to the natural geology of the environment, pockets of oil have remained, buried half a meter below the surface of some beaches.
Critics of the delay say the ongoing struggle to hold Exxon accountable for unanticipated environmental damages in Alaska offers clear lessons to be learned regarding the continuing process of determining BP’s long-term liability for the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, a spill that was 20 times larger than Exxon Valdez.