After Valdez: The shocking story of an Alaskan town NEVER touched by oil

Bound by oil: Gulf Coast residents seek lessons from Exxon Valdez, CNN, September 7, 2010:

Cordova [Alaska] did not see a drop of oil on its shores, but the impact of the [Exxon Valdez] spill rocked this small fishing community. It still does at times.

Some lost their livelihoods as fishermen, deckhands and cannery workers… Substance abuse and drinking went up; marriages crumbled. Local businesses crashed and closed. Domestic violence, depression, even suicides, spread over this town like a heavy fog.

The first suicide known to be connected to the oil was Bobby Van Brocklin’s. The town’s mayor in 1989, Van Brocklin died of a self-inflicted gunshot in 1993. He’d watched the boom town turn to a ghost town. His businesses, community and life fell apart.

His death “definitely had an impact,” his cousin, Bruce Van Brocklin, 55, says, adding that the wake for Bobby was the most crowded one he’s ever seen. “Heck of a way to make a statement.”

Read the article here.

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