Exxon Valdez OIl Spill

May 13, 2012
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In “Is Humanity A Special Threat,” it says “…the smartest thing they could have done after the [Exxon Valdez oil] spill is not one single thing.” I disagree with this quote. This is a perfect example of hindsight being 20/20 vision. The oil spill was huge so Exxon had no choice but to try to clean it up. At the time of the spill everyone believed that all the organisms within Prince William Sound would be killed off from the oil. Also, no one understood that Earth could clean itself. Exxon had to take responsibility for the spill and clean the oil up. I feel that it was correct to try to clean the spill.

Approximately 11 million gallons of oil were spilled off the Exxon Valdez. 1,300 miles of Alaskan coastline were affected by the oil spill. Thousands of sea otters, seals, bald eagles, and other sea birds were killed by the spill. To even suggest that not one single thing should have been done is despicable. Many animals did die, but more would have died if they did not try to clean up the oil. Many beaches were covered in oil. As a result of the cleanup most of those beaches are much cleaner. While it is true that microorganisms and wave action would have helped to clean the spill, this process would have taken centuries. Exxon’s effort paid off in the end.

Exxon Valdez’s oil spill was one of the largest spills in history. No one suspected that the Earth could recover by itself from this catastrophe. Exxon did not know that the land would eventually clean itself. With the knowledge they did have at the time it was best to clean the spill up. During the cleanup scientists held a small control area where they did not clean to see how the Earth and the organisms would react. It turned out the waves that crashed on the shore slowly swept some of the oil to the sea. They also did not know that some of the oil would slowly evaporate or that microorganisms would feed off the oil. However at the time of the spill it seemed unthinkable to leave the oil. All they knew was that they had to try to clean it up.

Exxon had to take responsibility for the spill caused by their ship. When you make a mess you have to clean it up. That’s exactly what they did. Exxon lost over two billion dollars in the spill and cleanup but they knew they could not just leave the spill. They sent thousands of workers to the area. They knew it was the responsible thing to do. They had people trying to clean animals that were affected by bathing the animals. It was very hard work but it had to be done to try to save the animals lives. There was also intense public and government pressure to do something and react fast. Exxon did the right thing by cleaning the mess they created.

“Is Humanity A Special Threat,” states “…the smartest thing they could have done after the [Exxon Valdez oil] spill is not one single thing.” I think this is incorrect. It is easy to say things like this when you know what the outcome is going to be. Exxon did not have time to think about their decision. They had to act with the information they had at the time. Only after the spill Exxon learned the Earth could clean itself. Finally they had to take responsibility for their actions. I believe Exxon made a smart decision by cleaning the oil spill up.





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