Dead Ahead: The Exxon Valdez Disaster



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Name: __________________________ Period: _____________ Date: ________________


Dead Ahead: The Exxon Valdez Disaster
This movie is about the real-life struggle to contain the environmental and financial damage caused to Alaska by the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez.
Questions to Consider
1. Explain how exactly the crash happened. What went wrong leading up to the crash?
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2. Why was the cleanup delayed initially? Who ultimately took charge and responsibility for the cleanup?

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3. How was the cleanup conducted? Explain how boom, dispersants, burnoff, and any other techniques shown work.
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4. Describe the role the fishermen played in the cleanup.


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5. At the end of the movie, a press conference is shown. The local citizens are visibly angry with Exxon. What specifically is the source of their anger? Do you believe they are justified?


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5. These are the major people involved in this accident. Explain the role each one played.





  • Frank Larossi, President, Exxon Shipping Company



  • Dennis Kelso, Commissioner, Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation




  • Larry Shier, Manager, Alyeska Pipeline Terminal




  • George H.W. Bush, President

6. What person or organization would you ultimately believe was responsible for the wreck and spill? Justify your answer with specific information from the movie.


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7. What person or organization would you ultimately believe was responsible for the poorly equipped and coordinated cleanup effort? Justify your answer with specific information from the movie.
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8. The last scene of the movie shows real footage from the cleanup efforts while a speech from then President George H.W. Bush in response to the event is played. The transcript is below:
We have to transport oil. We are becoming increasily dependent on foreign oil. And that is not acceptable to any president who is responsible for the national security of this country. So what we will do is not go backwards; what we will do is redouble every effort to provide the proper safeguards. And I think most people are reasonable enough and fair enough to look back at the record over the years in terms of the pipeline, and found that there has been very little damage, if any. Certainly, there has been no lasting environmental damage.
Should we shut down the Gulf of Mexico? Should we shut down the oil fields off of Louisiana because of this? The answer is no, that would be irresponsible. So what you do is do the best you can, express the genuine concern that you feel over the environment, and I do feel a concern, and not take irresponsible action to guard against an incident of this nature.”
What do you believe should be the long-term consequences of this event? Should oil still be pumped and transported out of Alaska? What are the alternatives to using this oil? Could this accident have been prevented, or the cleanup efforts improved?

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