Exxon Valdez Spill Continued to Cause Harm Years Later, Scientists Say

The Exxon Valdez oil spill has lived on in the minds of Alaskans, environmentalists, and people around the globe who were horrified and outraged by the widespread ecological destruction from the 1989 disaster. Now, it turns out that the spill has also lived on in the ecosystem, continuing to cause harm long after the official cleanup came to an end. According to a review published today in the journal Science, salmon, sea otters, ducks, and other marine life suffered the ill effects of crude oil from the spill at least through 2001. The review also found that even tiny quantities of oil — as little as one part per billion — can harm marine life. The leader of the study, Charles Peterson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, called the findings “simply astounding” and said they should have a significant impact on environmental management. Exxon, which has long claimed that the spill no longer has any impact on the region, disputed the review.