(1989) Oil tanker spill in AlaskaJust past midnight, the Exxon Valdez tanker strikes a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The resulting spill of up to 38 million gallons of crude oil is the largest in US history and will devastate 11,000 square miles of pristine wilderness.The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, March 24, 1989, when Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker owned by Exxon Shipping Company, bound for Long Beach, California, struck Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef at 12:04 am local time and spilled 10.8 million US gallons of crude oil over the next few days. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters. The Valdez spill is the second largest in US waters, after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in terms of volume released. Prince William Sound’s remote location, accessible only by helicopter, plane, or boat, made government and industry response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing response plans. The region is a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals and seabirds. The oil, originally extracted at the Prudhoe Bay oil field, eventually covered 1,300 miles of coastline, and 11,000 square miles of ocean.