Author(s): 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. Fishermen knew better. Spanning nearly 40 years, "Not One Drop" is an extraordinary tale of ordinary people who take on the worldas 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 industry'as 20-year trail of pollution and deception that led to the tragic 1989 spill and delves deep into the disruption to the fishing community for the next 10 years. In vivid detail, she describes the human trauma coupled inextricably with that of the Sound's wildlife and its struggle to recover.Contrasting hard-won spill prevention and response measures in the Sound to dangerous conditions on the trans-Alaska pipeline, Ott critically examines shifts in scientific understanding of oil spill effects on communities and ecosystems, exposing fundamental flaws in governance and the legal system. Her varied background, professional training, and activist heart lead readers confidently and clearly through the maze of laws, back-story, and government red tape as large as that of the five billion dollar lawsuit itself, instilling a new-found sense of understanding of this environmental tragedy.