Exxon Valdez 10 Years Later Essay Research

Exxon Valdez 10 Years Later Essay, Research Paper

When people hear the phrase “oil spill: they think a bunch of black stuff all in the water. Well there is a lot more to it then just that. It is an economical disaster as well as an environmental one. As you read along you will see how devastating this one oil spill, the Exxon Valdez, really was compared to others. Whether you, as the reader believe it or just think it is something that is none of you concern and happened 10 years ago is completely up to you. I think that your mind will change after hearing all the facts.

On the day of March 24, 1989 the oil tanker Exxon Valdez was afloat when it ran aground a reef in Prince William Sound, putting a gash in its hull. This gash bled out 11 million gallons of crude oil.

The oil covered roughly 10,000 sq. miles of water. This is the area

of Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, and 25 Washington D.C.’s combined! In only a week’s time the wind and current moved the oil 90 miles into the Gulf of Alaska. It contaminated 1,500 miles of coast. This is like the shoreline of California.

This oil as it moved through the water killed 300,000 sea birds, 2,600 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, and perhaps millions and millions of fish. Of the 23 studied species hurt by the spill only 2 are said to be completely recovered. The 2 are the Bald Eagle and the River Otter. Some show no recovery at all. Of these that haven’t recovered at all are the Harbor Seal, Harlequin Ducks, Pacific Herring, Cormorants, and even certain whales. If people were familiar with some of the clean up that went on, they would probably remember that cleaning of all those ducks. Well I hate to tell you but it was useless. Some of them died 5 days after they were released.

Scientists now know that the oil is 100 time’s more toxic then originally thought. Even a minuet amount can cause deformities in fish like an extra fin. Oil can still be found under rocks on some beaches

Exxon paid $1.2 billion in fines from the government. They gave $300 million to fisherman and others who had lost their income. Exxon has not paid a single penny of the $5 billion it has to pay the people in punitive damages. Here is a graph that shows the yearly income of fisherman from 1989 and then from 1998:



Prince William Sound Fisheries

Estimated Yearend Permit Values

Fishery Year Estimated


Herring Purse Seine

G01E 1989 $245,000

G01E 1998 $120,000

Herring Gillnet

G34E 1989 $92,667

G34E 1998 $69,400

Herring Spawn on Kelp/Pound

L21E 1989 $47,884

L21E 1998 $28,500

Salmon Purse Seine

S01E 1989 $236,333

S01E 1998 $36,600

Salmon Drift Gillnet

S03E 1989 $141,115

S03E 1998 $69,300

Salmon Set Gillnet

S04E 1989 $64,167

S04E 1998 $51,000

These facts strongly support that the oil spill in Prince William Sound was devastating and a great tragedy to all. You can see how it has economically hurt people’s lives as well as killed off most of the environment. And Exxon still doesn’t think it is to blame. This event will strongly be remembered in people’s minds for years to come like it has for the past ten years.


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