This is one anniversary that I don’t like celebrating.
Friday will be the twenty-eighth anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. Nearly 11 million gallons of oil spewed into the ocean over the course of three days. Even today, there are still some places in Prince William Sound where you can find oil that is as toxic as it was 28 years ago.
But, I’m optimistic that we can learn from the mistakes of the past and work together to make sure another Exxon Valdez doesn’t occur off the coast of Alaska. We saw first-hand what happens when we don’t take preparedness seriously.
Now, nearly three decades after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, the Arctic Ocean is facing threats from increasing vessel traffic in the Bering Strait.
As Arctic sea ice continues to melt, the Bering Sea—including the narrow Bering Strait—is experiencing more and more ship traffic. As ship traffic increases, so do the risks, including oil spills, vessel strikes on marine mammals, air pollution, discharge of waste into the water and production of underwater noise. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help protect the Arctic.
Take action today by asking the U.S. Coast Guard to take steps to reduce the risks of increasing vessel traffic in the Bering Sea. This can’t wait—we need to put in place key measures to increase safety and reduce risk in the Arctic waters.
The Bering Sea is used by millions of seabirds and an array of marine mammals including whales, seals, walruses and polar bears. Alaska Native communities rely on these resources for food security and cultural practices that date back millennia.
There’s no doubt that the Arctic Ocean is unique and important—there is a lot at stake if we don’t work together to do all we can to protect this region. Please take action today by asking the U.S. Coast Guard to reduce the risks from increasing vessel traffic in the Bering Sea.