Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the

Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the "Exxon Valdez" Disaster

by Angela Day


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Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the "Exxon Valdez" Disaster by Angela Day

Minutes before supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef, before rocks ripped a huge hole in her hull and a geyser of crude oil darkened the pristine waters of Prince William Sound, the ship's lookout burst through the chart room door. "That light, sir, it's still on the starboard side. It should be to port, sir." Her frantic words were merely the last in a litany of futile warnings. A parade of promises began the next day. Exxon Shipping Company president Frank Iarossi declared, "If it is a claim that is associated with the spill, we've assumed full financial responsibility." A week later, Alaska Governor Steve Cowper spoke at the Valdez Civic Center. "We don't want anybody to think that they have to hire a lawyer and go into federal court and sue the largest corporation in America." Eight days after the disaster, Valdez native Bobby Day flew over the spill and knew his life as a herring fisherman-a population that would be decimated by the spill-was shattered. He struggled with feelings of betrayal and guilt, and later weathered the tensions of a divided community. His intimate portrayal lends a local perspective and conveys the damage inflicted upon individuals and the fishing industry. Lengthy investigations revealed cover-ups, covert operations, reckless corporate management, numerous safety violations, and a broken regulatory process. At the time of the spill, oil flowed through the Alyeska pipeline at a profit of $400,000 per hour. Yet in the end, the ten thousand fishermen affected by the spill spent nearly twenty years in litigation and received little compensation for their losses. Despite a massive cleanup effort, oil remains on the beaches and continues to impact marine life. Red Light to Starboard documents a disaster that stunned the world, recounting regional and national history, and explains how oil titans came to be entrusted with a spectacular, The book discusses the environmental consequences as well as ineffective governmental and public policy decisions. It tracks responses to these failures that, through opportunities for citizen input and oversight, offer hope for the future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780874223187
Publisher: Washington State University Press
Publication date: 02/28/2014
Pages: 265
Sales rank: 845,886
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Red, Right, Returning 1

2 Hard Aground 7

3 "Were Going to Be Here for a While" 13

4 According to Plan 21

5 Irreconcilable Views 33

6 Silver on a Line 55

7 Siege at Sawmill Bay 67

8 "You Have My Word on That" 85

9 "Hang On, We're Going Around a Curve" 99

10 Fortune Seekers 113

11 "We Can Have Our Cake and Eat It Too" 129

12 Relying on Assurances 143

13 The Heart of the Sound 155

14 The Fall of Strict Liability 173

15 Deception 185

16 The Voice of the Sound 195

17 Disappearing Act 209

18 Blockade 217

19 Reckless Decision 221

Epilogue 233

Notes 245

Bibliography 255

Index 259

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