Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Whatever Happened To... the Exxon Valdez?

Now seventeen years after the most damaging oil spill in U.S. history, what's happened to the affected Alaskan environment?

By Elise KleemanAugust 1, 2006 5:00 AM
Thousands of animals died after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

A week after the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in 1989, chemist Jeff Short of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration visited the site.

"It was a nightmare," he says. "Oil everywhere and all these dead marine mammals." The 11-million-gallon spill was the most environmentally damaging in U.S. history, slicking 1,300 miles along Alaska's Prince William Sound.

Seventeen years later, a $2.2 billion cleanup by ExxonMobil, bacterial decay, and water-washing storms have removed the oil from sight.

That doesn't mean it's actually gone. About 100 tons remain, mostly buried in the sand where it can still harm animals digging up food, says Short. So, in June, the government requested $92 million more in cleanup funds.

If an agreement can't be reached with ExxonMobil, the sea otters and ducks may yet have their day in court.

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In