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Begich Statement on Anniversary of Exxon Valdez Spill

Senator Reflects on Lessons Learned

March 24, 2014 - Senator Begich issued a statement on the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

“On this day 25 years ago, catastrophe struck Alaska’s Prince William Sound when the Exxon Valdez struck a reef and ran aground spilling millions of gallons of oil and coating hundreds of miles of Alaska coastline.  That tragedy is still fresh in the minds of those who lived in Alaska during the event and those that came to our state to help clean up the spill and reduce the damage.

“The Exxon Valdez oil spill was a tragedy like no other—but Alaskans were determined to learn from the event and to set the standard for safe and responsible drilling.  Since that time the oil industry in Alaska, with help and guidance from thoughtful community members from around the state, has implemented rigorous spill protection and inspection protocols.  Oil is shipped in double-hulled tankers and spill technicians stand at-the-ready to respond to any threat of a spill.  The industry has developed precision techniques that enable us to reach billions of dollars’ worth of valuable oil deposits while leaving smaller and smaller footprints on the tundra.

“All of these improvements are a testimony to our determination to protect our land and waters while still benefiting from the valuable energy resources that fuel our state and national economy.  Though it has been 25 years since that tragic spill in Prince William Sound, Alaskans have not forgotten the consequences of that event and will be ever mindful of the need to extract our natural resources in a way that is both safe and responsible so that we can maintain the Alaska way of life for generations to come.”

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