The role a melting glacier played in Exxon's biggest disaster

In the early morning hours of March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker veered off course to avoid icebergs in the shipping lanes where it ran aground on Bligh Reef. The result: one of the planet’s largest, most environmentally destructive accidents in modern history. As reported by the Journalism School’s Energy and Environment Reporting fellows in the Los Angeles Times, that accident can now be seen as an early warning bell for climate change risks and disasters to come.

“This story is the result of dozens of interviews with scientists, government officials and oil industry employees, as well as a review of documents obtained from the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Coast Guard, National Archives, National Transportation Safety Board, Vanderbilt University, University of Alaska and the Exxon Mobil Historical Collection at the University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History.” Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

The Energy and Environmental Reporting Project is an intensive, full-time investigative reporting fellowship for four recent graduates of Columbia Journalism School. The fellows work independently and in teams to rigorously examine issues related to the environment and energy resources on an international level. Fellows perform extensive archival, public records and database research, as well as conduct interviews with a variety of sources from government, academia and industry.

Learn more about the Columbia Journalism School’s Post-Graduate Fellowship Projects.