On this day in 1989 the oil tanker Exxon Valdez spilled over 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska. I’ve seen varying estimates of how much oil was spilled, but I have read most estimates are low balled and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were.
I know I can’t forget the images of the oil soaked animals and the massive cleanup required. The effects of this man made disaster were so devastating oil is still trapped in Alaska’s gravel beaches 21 years later.
Only in recent years did Exxon begin to pay commercial fisherman, Alaska Natives, fishermen, business owners and others harmed by the 1989 disaster up to $507.5 million in punitive damages.
Now Aboriginal groups on Canada’s Pacific Coast are fighting a proposal for a Northern Gateway pipeline to carry oil sands crude to be exported to foreign markets including China.
The groups are prepared to protest and even use boats to blockade the oil tankers even if Canada’s government and courts allow Enbridge Inc, Canada’s second-largest pipeline company, to build the pipeline.
Steve Wuori, vice-president of liquids pipelines for Enbridge Inc had this to say:
It’s disappointing to see the dialogue over what is an important infrastructure project under stringent environmental standards and engineering practices reduced to a recounting of a 21-year-old incident.”
For more click on Native groups vow to fight pipeline