Monday, March 24, will mark a quarter of a century since Prince William Sound's ecosystem, communities and economy were altered irrevocably by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Only 13 of the 32 monitored resources, and associated resources services, are considered to be "recovered" or "likely recovered" as listed by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council (EVOSTC) in their 2010 Status of Injured Resources and Services report. Lingering oil is very much present, and recent studies are suggesting areas in the Sound were the oil is leaching out of the tidal substrate oil, creating more toxic exposure.
On February 19, 2014, Senator Berta Gardner, District H introduced SJR 25, which urges the state and federal governments to finally stand up to ExxonMobil’s stonewalling and file a motion in U.S. District Court to compel the payment. The resolution further urges the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council immediately to initiate subsurface lingering oil restoration work. The timing of this Resolution was very good. With the EVOS anniversary and upcoming elections, our Representatives have a vested interest in showing their support for their constituencies and may just support this - especially if you call them and urge them to do so!
While we still fight the fight for reparation, restoration, and recovery, more attacks on water quality and citizen rights are being made. HB77 reared its ugly head again this past week in the State Legislature. Over 75% of all comments and testimony submitted were against this terrible bill. The bill went into committee this week. I'll keep you posted on what the next development is. The Governor really wants this bill passed and with the majority of the legislature supporting him, it might get shoved through regardless of the pubic opposition to it.
This past month PWSK submitted a Letter of Support for SJR 25, a Compass opinion article to the Anchorage Daily News, and written testimony against HB77. All these materials may be read in our Section "Report, Letters & Links.
I will be traveling to Anchorage at the beginning of April to attend a workshop "Community-Based Monitoring: Observing Alaska's Coasts and Oceans" which is being held by a joint AOOS-Alaska Sea Grant Initiative. I hope to come back with tools and techniques to help build a PWS citizen-monitoring program.