Exxon Valdez, 25 years later

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by Victoria Taylor

ANCHORAGE-  25 years after an Exxon oil tanker crashes into Alaska's shores, economy and environment still feel the impact.  Impact from one of the nation's largest oil spills still spreads like oil sheen on the ocean's surface.

For one fisherman, March 24th 1989 started like any other off season day. "We had the boat in storage for the winter, before the day was over i put the boat in the water. went across the bay from Valdez to Alyeska pipeline," said Roy Alley, a retired commercial fisherman from Valdez.

An Exxon tanker slammed into Bligh reef. An estimated 11M gallons of oil spill into the ocean off Prince William Sound. Alley was called to help corral the oil. He says at the time they had no idea how far the spill would stretch. He says the first few days after the spill the weather was calm. Wind picked-up and this is what caused the damage to spread so far.

Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters says, "It's an absolute tragedy that today, 25 years later, Alaskans are still suffering economically and environmentally from that spill. We're still seeing the effects of that spill."

Alley says he made his bread and butter with commercial salmon fishing, but also dipped into herring. One breed he says still hasn't returned to Valdez," it was a shot in the arm to the fisherman who would fish the herring. They just wont go into a contaiminated area"

Some say two and a half decades later, the Exxon Valdez oil spill is still a tough lesson to learn,"This has to be figured into our risk calculus about oil development, drilling, transportation, pipeline, shipping anywhere and everywhere. We have to simply be honest about what the potential risks are," says Professor Rick Steiner, International oil spill expert