Posts tagged with

Exxon Valdez oil spill

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990: A History of Spills and Legislation

Posted Mon, 08/17/2020 - 12:45
By Gary Shigenaka, Office of Response and Restoration

In the U.S., it has been a fact of life that major news events influence the political course of the country. Occurrences large and small can stir the notoriously short and fickle attention span of the public, and in turn, the political machinery that generally responds to what the voters believe to be issues of importance. Oil spills may sometimes rise to that level, depending on their size and complexity.

Thanks, Oil Pollution Act: 30 Years of Enabling Environmental Restoration After Oil Spills

Posted Wed, 08/12/2020 - 13:47

Imagine yourself preparing for your next trip to the beach. The sun is shining and you drive with excitement to your favorite spot on the coast. But when you arrive, instead of being welcomed by clean sand and blue ocean waves, you see a thick black sludge washing over both beach and birds. What happened?

An Oil Spill’s Silver Lining, Over Three Decades After Exxon Valdez

Posted Tue, 08/04/2020 - 04:58
By Megan Ewald, Office of Response and Restoration

When an oil spill happens, whoever is responsible pays for the cleanup and restoration.

But this has not always been the case. Thirty years ago, on March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez grounded on Bligh Reef, rupturing its hull and spilling almost 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound.

It was an unprecedented disaster, and at the time there was no comprehensive federal legislation to determine the scope of liability for costs of cleanup and restoration.

More Than Two Decades Later, Have Killer Whales Recovered from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill?

Posted Mon, 02/10/2020 - 14:36

Does a killer whale instinctively know how to avoid oil spilled on the surface of its watery home? At the time of the Exxon Valdez oil spill 23 years ago, scientists and oil spill experts presumed that the answer was "yes."

Minds Behind OR&R: Meet Marine Biologist Gary Shigenaka

Posted Wed, 07/31/2019 - 12:31

This feature is part of a monthly series profiling scientists and technicians who provide exemplary contributions to the mission of NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R). This month’s featured scientist is Gary Shigenaka, a marine biologist in OR&R’s Emergency Response Division.

Beneath the Surface: Oil Spills and Mental Health

Posted Tue, 03/26/2019 - 17:48
Alyssa Gray, Office of Response and Restoration

Oil spills can impact the environment and the communities in it in a variety of ways — from the deaths of the marine animals and wildlife that come in contact with the oil or polluted plants and water, to the physical damage seen throughout entire ecosystems. But not all impacts are visible with the naked eye. Some lie lurking beneath the surface and may not be apparent until months or even years later. Some of these impacts reside, not in an ecosystem or a body of water, but in the minds of the people closest to the incident. One of the impacts pollution has on people, is on their mental health.

Using Dogs to Find Oil During Spill Response

Posted Mon, 05/08/2017 - 17:57

NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration’s Emergency Response Division returned to Prince William Sound to use some of the old buried oil from the Exxon Valdez oil spill to improve how we can find oil on the shoreline in the future.

This time, the key player was an enthusiastic black Labrador retriever named Pepper. This project is to validate and better understand the capabilities of trained oil detection canines to locate and delineate subsurface stranded oil. The results of the study have a high probability of immediate, short-term applications and long-term real benefits in the design and implementation of shoreline cleanup and assessment technique surveys for stranded oil.

What Scientists Learned About Cleaning up Oil Spills by Covering a Delaware Beach with Oil — on Purpose

Posted Thu, 09/15/2016 - 17:07

Most people don’t want to spill oil onto beaches. But after the disastrous 1989 Exxon Valdez spill covered the remote, rocky beaches of Alaska’s Prince William Sound with crude oil, Al Venosa was itching to do exactly that.

As an environmental scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Venosa had been called up to Alaska to help study the Exxon Valdez oil spill and its cleanup. In particular, he was interested in an oil spill cleanup technique that was getting a lot of attention at the time—an approach known as “bioremediation.” It involved adding oil-eating microbes and extra nutrients to an oiled beach to accelerate the natural background process of microbes breaking down, or biodegrading, oil.

It Took More Than the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill to Pass the Historic Oil Pollution Act of 1990

Posted Tue, 08/18/2015 - 18:17

AUGUST 18, 2015 — If you, like many, believe oil shouldn't just be spilled without consequence into the ocean, then you, like us, should be grateful for a very important U.S. law known as the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Congress passed this legislation and President George H.W. Bush signed it into law 25 years ago on August 18, 1990, which was the summer after the tanker Exxon Valdez hit ground in Prince William Sound, Alaska.