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Riki Ott
Marine toxicologist and Exxon Valdez survivor Riki Ott, PhD, shares stories of oil spill impact to cleanup workers in Sound Truth and Corporate Myths. Her latest book, Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez (Chelsea Green, 2008) is on social trauma of this disaster. She is a national spokesperson with Move To Amend, a grassroots coalition working to abolish the legal doctrine that allows corporations to claim constitutional rights and undermine legitimate democracy.

Entries by Riki Ott

Warrior up! The Other Keystone XLs

(2) Comments | Posted October 8, 2015 | 5:48 PM

Vancouver, BC. You've probably heard about the Keystone XL pipeline, but have you heard about the other major pipelines just like it?

It's a fact. Multiple pipelines link the land-locked Alberta tar sands to seaports in the United States and Canada for oil export. While the Keystone XL project has...

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Act Now to Protect Our Ocean and Fresh Water

(1) Comments | Posted March 24, 2015 | 12:55 PM

I am a survivor of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, a marine toxicologist, a commercial fisherman, and an author-turned-activist. The turning happened 26 years ago today, when I flew over the wreck of the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The Sound -- my backyard, my fishing grounds, and...

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The ALERT Project: Why It Matters and Why You Should Care

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 1:50 PM

Imagine if you were one of the people in Greeley, Colorado, on September 12 who had been stuck in traffic for hours, because unknown chemicals that had "something to do with fracking" had been spilled in the road. What sort of questions might have run through your mind?

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Making Healthy People and Healthy Communities Part of Our Energy Future

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 8:39 PM

Public health is the oil industry's Achilles' Heel. The industry and government do not want us to know that people across the nation are getting sick from petrochemical exposure. Especially in areas of oil and gas activities, our air and water are laced with dangerous chemicals from transportation accidents, fracking...

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Current Emergency Regulations a Recipe for Disaster

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 10:24 PM

Recently, the U.S. Transportation Department (DOT) issued an emergency order requiring railroads to inform state emergency management officials about large crude oil shipments. Specifically, the regulations required railroads to disclose the expected routes across country, volume of oil being shipped, and a responsible party.

This latest emergency order follows...

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The Exxon Pipeline Spill: Questions That Should Be Frequently Asked

(9) Comments | Posted April 4, 2013 | 6:50 PM

In oil disaster after oil disaster, industry has repeatedly hidden the truth from federal agencies and the public about spill volume and extent of damages, including wildlife kills, ecosystem harm, and harm to worker and public health. This underreporting is done to minimize the spiller's liability -- often billions of...

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Unfinished Business: The Unspoken Link Between Dispersants and Sick Children in the Gulf of Mexico

(15) Comments | Posted November 30, 2012 | 8:38 PM

All six of Julie Creppel's young children are sick. Vomiting. Blisters all over their bodies, even in their throats. Boils. Severe headaches that wake them up screaming at night. Nausea. Fevers. Diarrhea. Stomach spasms that contort their bodies in pain. Skin lesions. Psoriasis. Nose bleeds that gush unexpectedly. Respiratory infections....

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"Making It Right" After BP Oil Disaster Is Up to Us - Not BP

(18) Comments | Posted April 20, 2012 | 12:32 PM

Grand Isle, Louisiana. When I returned to Cordova, Alaska, in December 2010 after my first six-month stint in the Gulf coast communities impacted by the BP oil disaster, fishermen greeted me wryly. "See you found your way home."

Fishermen were interested in stories because even then, twenty-one years after...

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Lots of Inconvenient Truths -- Chemical Illness Epidemic in the Wake of the BP Blowout

(49) Comments | Posted June 8, 2011 | 7:59 PM

Recently Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer overseeing the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility to "make it right" for people harmed by the British Petroleum oil blowout disaster, told a Louisiana House and Senate committee that he had not seen any claims, or any scientific evidence, linking...

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Will the Government Let BP Reduce Its Fines and Penalties for Deepwater?

(15) Comments | Posted March 21, 2011 | 3:17 PM

Gretna, LA -- As the one-year memorial of British Petroleum's tragic deepwater well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico approaches, federal investigators are gathering evidence to support criminal charges filed against BP and its contractors, as well as civil claims filed for damages to wildlife and public lands harmed by...

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BP's Promise Versus What BP Really Means: Some Insights on Making People Hole (Whole) and Just Us (Justice) in the Gulf

(17) Comments | Posted January 21, 2011 | 3:02 PM

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. When Louisiana fisherman Michelle Chauncy called the BP claim office (Kenneth Fineberg's Gulf Coast Claims Facility) last Friday to check on the status of her claim for Michelle's Crab Shack, the office couldn't find her claim. It had vanished.

Michelle had filed her claim in October...

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Bio-Remediation or Bio-Hazard? Dispersants, Bacteria and Illness in the Gulf

(140) Comments | Posted September 17, 2010 | 12:28 AM

Ocean Springs, MS -- A grandmother made me rethink all the bio-remediation hype. The "naturally-occurring oil-eating bacteria" have been newsworthy of late as they are supposedly going to come to the rescue of President Obama and BP and make good on their very premature statement that "the oil...

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An Open Letter to US EPA, Region 6

(23) Comments | Posted August 27, 2010 | 3:27 PM

Sam Coleman
U.S. EPA, Region 6
1445 Ross Ave.
Dallas, TX 75202-2733 Via email:

August 27, 2010

Re: Documentation of continued dispersant spraying in near shore and inland waters from Florida to Louisiana (despite contrary claims by USCG and BP) and documentation that dispersants made...

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Seafood Safety and Politics Don't Mix: Opening of Gulf Fisheries at Odds With Evidence of Harm

(62) Comments | Posted August 11, 2010 | 5:55 PM

Eight days after returning home from his Gulf oil-spill response job, Jason Brashears has flashbacks of a scene that he witnessed one day in Lake Ponchartrain, Louisiana: Thousands of fish gasping at the surface in a sea of foamy oil and dispersant.

Brashears spent 65 days spotting oil in Lake...

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Oilgate! BP and All the President's Men (Except One) Seek to Contain Truth of Leak in the Gulf (PHOTOS)(VIDEO)

(85) Comments | Posted August 2, 2010 | 3:49 PM

Barataria, LA. -- Bonnie Schumaker slowed her souped-up Cessna 180 from 130 to 50 knots so I could hold open the window for documentary film producer Bo Bodart to shoot the grim scene below us. The oil-laced air rushed in and stung our throats and eyes.


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BP, Governments Downplay Public Health Risk From Oil and Dispersants (PHOTOS)

(530) Comments | Posted July 7, 2010 | 4:29 PM

Pensacola Beach, FL -- When Ryan Heffernan, a volunteer with Emerald Coastkeeper, noticed a bag of oily debris floating off in Santa Rosa Sound, she ran up to BP's HazMat-trained workers to ask if they would retrieve it.

"No, ma'am," one replied politely. "We can't go in the ocean. It's...

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From the Ground: BP Censoring Media, Destroying Evidence

(920) Comments | Posted June 11, 2010 | 9:18 AM

Orange Beach, Alabama -- While President Obama insists that the federal government is firmly in control of the response to BP's spill in the Gulf, people in coastal communities where I visited last week in Louisiana and Alabama know an inconvenient truth: BP -- not our president -- controls the...

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Human Health Tragedy in the Making: Gulf Response Failing to Protect People

(467) Comments | Posted May 19, 2010 | 7:20 PM

Grand Bayou, Louisiana -- The federal agencies delegated with protecting the environment, worker safety, and public health are in hot water in the small coastal communities across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Fishermen responders who are working BP's giant uncontrolled slick in the Gulf are reporting bad headaches, hacking coughs,...

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At What Cost? BP Spill Responders Told to Forgo Precautionary Health Measures in Cleanup

(407) Comments | Posted May 17, 2010 | 12:24 PM

Venice, Louisiana -- Local fishermen hired to work on BP's uncontrolled oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico are scared and confused. Fishermen here and in other small communities dotting the southern marshes and swamplands of Barataria Bay are getting sick from the working on the cleanup, yet BP is...

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The Corporations Are Coming! The Corporations Are Coming!

(4) Comments | Posted March 16, 2010 | 6:01 PM

The following post was written by Paula and Paul Revere, a.k.a. Riki Ott and David Cobb.

Alaska-Colorado-California-Oregon-Washington -- Three-plus weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out limits on corporate spending in political campaigns in Citizens United v. FEC, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found...

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