News Release

Alaskans in the Gulf: Lessons from Exxon Valdez


RIKI OTT, via Lisa Marie Jacobs
Martin is political director of , one of several groups urging President Obama — who is meeting Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai today in Washington — to say “yes to President Karzai’s request for the U.S. to support peace talks now to end the war.”

Currently on the Gulf coast, Ott is author of Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Spill, a marine toxicologist and former commercial salmon fisher in Alaska. She questions the ongoing use of dispersants by BP. Ott said today: “The industry needs dispersants because they need to show some way of spill response. … By getting the EPA to list dispersants [as permissible] — even if the products are toxic to the environment, the industry has a green light to operate.” Since the industry plans are “rubber-stamped [by the EPA], there is no incentive to develop products that actually work to contain and clean up oil rather than disperse it into the ocean — out of sight, out of mind. … BP is saying that the chemicals are less harmful to the environment than the oil. That is a false or at best very misleading statement. The EPA only requires standard 48-hour or 96-hour bioassays. … These bioassays are extremely dated (40 years or so).”

A marine biologist and former University of Alaska fisheries extension agent, Steiner just returned to Alaska from working at the site of the BP oil spill and on the Louisiana coast. He said today: “BP has committed several very serious environmental crimes over the last 10 to 20 years, a couple of them right here in Alaska that led to major oil spills on the North Slope, the nation’s largest oil field. … Every time there’s a breakdown, BP promises that they will change their corporate culture and manage risks better and make a major restructuring within the company so that these things don’t happen, and yet they continue to happen. …

“We still have some amounts of Exxon Valdez oil in the beaches here [in Alaska], 20,000 or 30,000 gallons down deep in the beaches, which is still relatively toxic. The injured ecosystem is far from recovered.” See interview.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167