Valdez oil spill. Image credit:Alaska In Pictures
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the devastating Exxon Valdez oil spill. It's hard to believe so much time has passed since the tanker dumped 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound, but it's not surprising that the spill's effects still linger. There is oil beneath the beaches of Prince William Sound, and the fishing industry of that region was decimated - leaving many without jobs.
It also didn't help those relying on the fishing industry for their livelihoods that Exxon fought its penalty payments to them for years. I know people who still avoid going to Exxon gas stations because of that tragedy.Yet even though the Exxon Valdez disaster was 20 years ago, it remains relevant today because oil spills are still a regular occurrence. Recently a tanker off the coast of Australia crashed, spilling 52,000 gallons of oil and shutting down local fisheries. The San Francisco also saw the terrible effects of an oil spill in the bay in 2007. Oil spills are not a thing of the past.
There are also many spills caused every year by off-shore drilling, many of them during the annual hurricane season, which is yet another major reason why we should end our dependence on oil switch to clean energy sources.
Fortunately, the Obama administration understands that more drilling won't solve our energy problems. The Department of the Interior is already making great strides, making it known that renewable energy will be a focus.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has also announced that in April the agency will hold a series of public hearings on offshore drilling in Alaska, New Jersey, New Orleans and San Francisco. The hearings will provide Americans with an opportunity to tell the Obama Administration that we support its commitment to renewable energy, and that we want to leave the drill-everywhere days of the Bush administration behind us.
You can help our country avoid another Exxon Valdez-style disaster and the oil spills caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by telling the Interior Department to say no to off-shore drilling.
Clean energy offers great opportunities for the U.S. economically and environmentally. Today's anniversary is a reminder of what happens when we stay chained to the energy sources of the past.
More oil spill posts.
Alaska's North Slope: Biggest Oil Spill Yet
58000 Gallons of Oil Spill into San Francisco Bay
Good News: SF's Oil Spill's Effects All but "Out of Sight ...
Oil Spill Clean-Up May Be More Harmful to Fish than the Oil Spill ...