March 24 marks the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska that alerted the world to the dangers of oil development in the Arctic. More than 41 million liters of oil spilled into Prince William Sound that killed wildlife along a vast stretch of shoreline, and crippled local fishing industries.
This spill was one of the world’s worst ecological disasters and the impacts are still being felt today as the area's herring stock has still not recovered, fishermen’s livelihoods were destroyed, and the Alaskan economy lost billions of dollars.
It has also been the best-studied oil spill in history and scientists found that decades later, damage from the spill continued. In March 2008 WWF dug up some of the still-oily gravel from the shoreline where the oil spilled, and presented it to US lawmakers as a reminder that more needs to be done to protect the Arctic from oil spills.
Action is needed to protect the most vulnerable and important areas as permanently off-limits to oil and gas development. Please lend your voice to help protect Alaska’s Arctic Ocean where an oil spill would be virtually impossible to clean up or where any spill would cause irreparable long-term damage.