On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker collided with Bligh Reef and proceeded to spill 40 million litres of crude oil into the sea, ultimately leading to one of the most devastating man-made disasters in history. According to the BBC, approximately ‘250,000 seabirds, nearly 3,000 sea otters, 300 harbour seals, 250 bald eagles and up to 22 killer whales’ died as a result of the spillage.
On April 13, 1989, 8-year-old Kelli Middlestead wrote the following letter to Walter Stieglitz, then Regional Director of the Alaska Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
April 13, 1989
I am very sorry but I am very mad about the oil spill. It is killing nature. And it is killing the sea otters.
It makes me very sad because my class is doing a report on sea otters. And sea otters are cute, sea otters are an endangered species. Please clean up the oil spill.
Mrs. Ashley – 2nd grade