Environment: Nature Aids the Alaska Cleanup

Despite disappointing progress, hope is in the air

When breaks in the stormy weather permit, cleanup crews in a bay of Alaska's Eleanor Island come ashore in landing craft meant for infantry assaults. Off Kenai Peninsula, 200 miles away, the 425-ft. Soviet ship Vaydaghubsky stalks chocolate-colored oil on the high seas. At the top of Montague Strait, south of Valdez harbor, the 17,000-ton troopship U.S.S. Juneau has set anchor. The 400 men aboard are on an expedition to cleanse oil-stricken Smith Island before the annual arrival of seals.

A month after the Exxon Valdez disgorged 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound, the effort to...

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