Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

March 2, 2009

Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez spill

In the early hours of March 24, 1989 the Exxon Valdez oil supertanker ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska. It discharges millions of gallons of crude oil. In its wake, some biologists believe it killed 300,000 birds.

If you need any reminder of how powerfully tragic the spill was in Alaska, please watch this powerful trailer for the documentary “Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez

The documentary follows the saga of what happened in the years following the spill. In 1993 both the salmon and the herring runs collapsed. Some species, like the herring, have failed to recover, creating a permanent economic crisis for the Sound’s fishermen. As the bankruptcies began, a wave of social problems followed – alcoholism, high divorce rates and even suicides have swept through the Sound’s small towns.

For twenty years, Riki Ott, author of Not One Drop, and the fishermen of the little town of Cordova, Alaska waged the longest legal battle in U.S. history against the world’s most powerful oil company – ExxonMobil. The Supreme Court reduced the original award last year, but the spill’s legacy lives on.

The video has been shown on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and at various film festivals. We haven’t seen this aired yet in the U.S. (Correct us if we’re wrong)

The full size video trailer can be seen here

IBRRC’s overview on the spill response and court case

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One Response to “Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez spill”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    This documentary is a powerful wake up call to all coastal communities. Most people expect government agencies and regulations to solve the problem of oil spills. The Bay Area community in N. CA has recently learned during the Cosco Busan oil spill that these agencies are not prepared adequately to handle large spills (the Cosco Busan was not a large spill). It is up to the public to take action and prepare to respond, get involved and make sure our coastal waters are protected.

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