Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

by Riki Ott

In the early 1970s, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens promised Cordova fishermen not one drop of oil would be spilled in Prince William Sound from proposed tanker traffic and the trans-Alaska pipeline project.

Spanning nearly 40 years, Not One Drop is an extraordinary tale of ordinary people who take on the worlds richest oil companies and most powerful politicians to protect Prince William Sound from oil accidents.Author Riki Ott, a rare combination of commercial salmon fisherma'am and PhD marine biologist, describes the firsthand impact of this broken promise when the Exxon Valdez oil spill decimated Cordova, Alaska, a small commercial fishing community set in 38,000 square miles of rugged Alaska wilderness.Ott illustrates in stirring fashion the oil industrys 20-year trail of pollution and deception that lead to the tragic 1989 spill and delves deep into the disruption to the fishing community for the next 10 years.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Environment
  • Rating: 3.92
  • Pages: 352
  • Publish Date: November 1st 2008 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company
  • Isbn10: 1933392584
  • Isbn13: 9781933392585

Read the Book "Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill" Online

Riki Ott is writing this book for the "average person," who apparently doesn't know anything about science, but is okay with tons of legal jargon. Why can't scientists just use simple English if they want people to understand what they've discovered?" "Okay, so toxicology is the science of poisons and their effects on the body. The author provides a handy list of "corporate defense strategies in adversarial litigation." A few of my favorites are: -Hire a small army of the best lawyers money can buy. -Launch professional and personal attacks to discredit scientists who challenge corporate supremacy in science. (by some of Exxon's calculations, the fishermen actually owed the oil company money!) -Retry the case through appeals. -Advance rights of corporate "persons." Also, Riki Ott does a fantastic job of providing solutions for the future. (Obviously, in this situation, the oil spill destroyed an entire community's way of life.

She is a knowledgeable and passionate communicator, with a hell of a story to tell, but one element of this book put me off a bit: her habit of setting expository pseudo-Socratic dialogues between herself and her best friend, Linden.

Two years later came news headlines about the Exxon-Valdez spill in Prince William Sound, and Riki was right in the middle of the chaos of an entire communitys shattered lives. While Rikis uniquely well-informed perspective allows her to tell the story of this accident in a way that sheds light on corporate power-plays and profit-seeking platitudes, her narrative occasionally bogs down in the very literary device that at first seems to make the science and politics truly accessible to a lay reader. Id recommend it to anyone who cares about any community or natural space touched by any megacorporations, as the lessons Riki learned in Alaska seem likely to transfer all too well to the site of the next human-made disaster. Perhaps, if enough people read Cordovas story and others like it, that next disaster can be prevented before it destroys a community and an ecosystem.

Riki Ott's family has a track record when it comes to seeing a wrong and fighting to right it, so it should surprise no one that she jumped right in when her recently adopted and much loved new home in Cordova, Alaska is nearly destroyed by the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. Despite that awareness, the book begins with a lot of occupation-ese, language specific to the world she lives in, with fishing terms, boating-speak and other things that just don't draw a reader in. Ott eventually begins to make the story more personal, working in incredibly awkward "conversations" that probably never happened but at least are easier to follow. 2009, next year, is the twentieth anniversary of the spill and would have seemed a more expected publication date for this book.