Skip to content

COVID Closure: Due to current local Covid-19 conditions, the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff building will remain closed to the public through Saturday October 24, 2020. Staff remain available by phone and email. Watch this space for updates.

Back to Top

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Workers hosing beach, barge trapping oil sheen.
Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Slide Collection, RG 348. ASA-AS17959-0843.

At 12:04 am on March 24, 1989 the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef off Prince William Sound, Alaska resulting in one of the largest oil spills in United States history. Approximately 11 million gallons of crude oil were spilled covering an area of 460 miles from Bligh Reef to the village of Chignik, impacting 1,300 miles of Alaskan coastline and killing countless animals (with estimates as high as 250,000 seabirds alone) and billions of salmon and herring eggs.

In addition to the environmental damage, the oil spill permanently changed the lives of those who live in Alaska; especially those living and working in the spill region for whom the water was a both an economical and cultural resource. Lawsuits between the State of Alaska, the United States government and Exxon and Alyeska Corporations and other defendants lasted five years. All state and federal cases were eventually combined as a federal case presided over by Judge J. Russell Holland and a state case presided over by Judge Brian Shortell with a final litigation settlement with the State of Alaska in 1993.

Primary Sources

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Slide Collection

Description Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Slide Collection
Date created 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Slide Collection, Public Information Files, Office of the Press Secretary, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Slide Collection [Alaska's Digital Archives]

Alaska Oil Spill Commission Response Report, Kodiak

Description Alaska Oil Spill Commission Response Report, Kodiak
Dates created November 07, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Alaska Oil Spill Commission Response Report, Kodiak, Box AS 25682, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Address to the Oiled Mayors of France and Alaska, Walter Meganack, Sr.

Description Address to the Oiled Mayors of France and Alaska, Walter Meganack, Sr., Chief, Native Village of Port Graham, Alaska.
Dates created June 27, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Address to the Oiled Mayors of France and Alaska, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Commentary by Mayor Georgia Buck, City of Whittier

Description Commentary by Mayor Georgia Buck, City of Whittier
Dates created June 22, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Commentary by Mayor Georgia Buck, City of Whittier, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Letter concerning the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on Kodiak Island, Dolly C.R. Reft

Description Letter concerning the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on Kodiak Island, Dolly C.R. Reft, Chairperson, Kodiak Island and Alaska Native Coastal Coalition.
Dates created July 27, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Letter concerning the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on Kodiak Island, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Letter regarding oil spill legislation from Senators Murkowski and Stevens

Description Letter regarding oil spill legislation from Senators Murkowski and Stevens.
Dates created November 14, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Letter regarding oil spill legislation from Senators Murkowski and Stevens, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Transcript of interview with Governor Steve Cowper

Description Transcript of interview with Governor Steve Cowper.
Dates created November 28, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Transcript of interview with Governor Steve Cowper, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Letter concerning the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on Kodiak Island, Julie Carlson

Description Letter concerning the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on Kodiak Island, Julie Carlson.
Dates created August 11, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Letter concerning the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on Kodiak Island, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Letter regarding oil spill legislation from Congressman Young

Description Letter regarding oil spill legislation from Congressman Young.
Dates created November 13, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Letter regarding oil spill legislation from Congressman Young, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Letter to U.S. Coast Guard from City of Kodiak

Description Letter to U.S. Coast Guard from City of Kodiak.
Dates created July 12, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Letter to U.S. Coast Guard from City of Kodiak, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Letter to "Oiled Mayors" Subcommittee concerning Exxon cleanup efforts, Gary P. Kompkoff

Description Letter to "Oiled Mayors" Subcommittee concerning Exxon cleanup efforts, Gary P. Kompkoff, President, Tatitlek Village IRA Council.
Dates created July 31, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Letter to "Oiled Mayors" Subcommittee concerning Exxon cleanup efforts, Gary P. Kompkoff, President, Tatitlek Village IRA Council, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Letter concerning effects of Exxon Valdez oil spill on Alaska Natives

Description Letter concerning effects of Exxon Valdez oil spill on Alaska Natives.
Dates created August 03, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Letter concerning effects of Exxon Valdez oil spill on Alaska Natives, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Minutes of the June 25, 1989 meeting, Valdez, Alaska. Alaska Conference of Mayors, Subcommittee of Oiled Mayors

Description Minutes of the June 25, 1989 meeting, Valdez, Alaska. Alaska Conference of Mayors, Subcommittee of Oiled Mayors.
Dates created June 25, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Subcommittee of Oiled Mayors meeting minutes, June 25, 1989, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Comments on Draft State/Federal Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan and Restoration Strategy for the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Description Comments on Draft State/Federal Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan and Restoration Strategy for the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.
Dates created June 25, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Comments on Draft State/Federal Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan and Restoration Strategy for the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Statement of Edgar Blatchford, Chairman, Chugach Alaska Corporation to the Coast Guard and Navigation Subcommittee, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, U.S. House of Representatives

Description Statement of Edgar Blatchford, Chairman, Chugach Alaska Corporation to the Coast Guard and Navigation Subcommittee, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, U.S. House of Representatives.
Dates created May 15, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Statement of Edgar Blatchford, Chairman, Chugach Alaska Corporation to the Coast Guard and Navigation Subcommittee, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, U.S. House of Representatives, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Subsistence Proposal, William A. Anderson, Ouzinkie Native Corporation

Description Subsistence Proposal, William A. Anderson, Ouzinkie Native Corporation.
Dates created August 15, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Ouzinkie Native Corporation Subsistence Proposal, Box AS 25862, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission records, Department of Administration, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Prince William Sound cleanup effort update, Oil Disaster Media Center

Description Prince William Sound cleanup effort update, Oil Disaster Media Center.
Dates created April 30, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Citation Prince William Sound cleanup effort update, April 30, 1989, Box AS 28341, Subject and correspondence files, Commissioner of Fish and Game, Alaska State Archives.
Online access Not yet available online

Secondary Sources

Hard Aground: A Visual History of Alaska's Response to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Description
A pictorial overview of the myriad of responses to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill; government, civilian and tribal responses are highlighted. Video produced by Steve Nelson and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
Online access Hard Aground: A Visual History of Alaska's Response to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill [YouTube]

Spill: the wreck of the Exxon Valdez, implications for safe transportation of oil: final report

Description 1990 report by the Alaska Oil Spill Commission, State of Alaska. This report includes information on the timeline of events of the spill, spill response actions, key players, a history of oil in Alaska, spill contingency plans, effects on communities, and recommendations, as well as numerous charts, graphs, and maps.
Repository Alaska State Archives
Online access Available upon request through the Alaska State Library

"Spill threatening a way of life for some"

Description Article written by Sharon Ann Jaeger for the Valdez Vanguard, Valdez, Alaska.
Date created August 23, 1989
Repository Alaska State Archives
Online access Available upon request through the Alaska State Library

Additional Resources

The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council

Description The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council is a joint partnership between the federal and state governments “formed to oversee restoration of the injured ecosystem.” The website offers multiple resources on the spill from their Oil Spill Facts page, to publications including some of the council's historical records, to the current status of restoration projects. To begin exploring these records visit the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Collection [external PDF] finding aid for more information on the unique resources held at the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services.

Online Exhibit: Remembering the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Description This online exhibit examines the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill disaster of 1989 using primary sources from the Alaska State Library Historical Collections and the Alaska State Archives.
Online access Remembering the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill [ArcGIS]

Page last updated 09/18/2019