Demonstrations, Folk Music, New Resolve, Mark Valdez Anniversary
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ They feathered an oil-man effigy Saturday in Alaska’s largest city and listened to ecology folk music in the fishing town of Homer.
In Cordova, fishermen whose livelihood was threatened by the nation’s worst oil spill put the first anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster behind them with a community breakfast of sourdough waffles.
Women in Kodiak chose March 24 as a time to move on, to turn their oil spill support group into a political pressure group targeting federal and state spill bills.
A small flotilla of boats motored back and forth near the Exxon Valdez during a demonstration in San Diego Bay, where the now-unnamed tanker is undergoing repairs. Protest banners were unfurled from the masts of sailboats in, and even a kayak was mounted with the sign: ″No drilling No spilling″
And in Valdez, symbolic ground zero, officials braced for the return of anti-oil activists.
As Saturday afternoon wore on, the expected protest regatta of fishing vessels failed to materialize at the Port of Valdez, where the giant Exxon tanker took on a load of Alaska crude that later poured into Prince William Sound.
Mayor Lynn Chrystal said his town was quiet.
″Most of us are trying to put it behind us,″ Chrystal said. ″We don’t want to forget the spill, but we do want to learn from it and move on.″
The observances came a day after Joseph Hazelwood, the ship’s captain, was sentenced to 1,000 hours of helping clean up some of the 11,000 gallons of oil that gushed out when the tanker grounded on Bligh Reef. The fired skipper - convicted of the misdemeanor of negligent discharge of oil but acquitted of a felony and other misdemeanors - also was ordered to pay $50,000 restitution.
In Cordova, a fishing town whose residents were hurt economically by the spill, anger has faded somewhat.
″We wanted to do something healing,″ said Michelle O’Leary of Cordova District Fishermen United. ″With all the stress of the one-year anniversary, between all the media and then trying to get ready for the fishing season, we decided to have this sourdough breakfast, to do something just for us.″
In Homer, another fishing town, a pot-luck gathering was serenaded by folk singers who take ecological themes. A Kodiak group called the Crude Women met to plan strategy for legislative lobbying.
In Anchorage, demonstrators chalked images of sea creatures on the median in front of Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., the company that operates the oil pipeline that fed the Exxon Valdez. They waved a huge Alaska state flag, reviled the oil-man mannequin and set out a bucket of congealed goo beneath a sign that said: ″Genuine Prince William Sound crude oil. Help yourself if it’s for a good cause.″