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Connecting curious minds with uncommon, undeniably Northwest reads

Angela M. Day

Even before she came to have a close tie to the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Angela Day would have described the event as a defining chapter in her life. Like people worldwide, she was astounded that such an accident was even possible, and heartbroken as she followed media coverage and saw images of the environmental devastation it caused.

Meeting her husband Bobby Day—the fisherman at the heart of Red Light to Starboard—deepened her understanding of the spill’s impacts. She took copious notes as he shared anecdotes about fishing, his family’s history in Alaska, and the crushing consequences he withstood after the disaster. She also collected news articles related to the 1994 jury trial held in Anchorage.

Compelled to investigate further, she discovered layers of complexity surrounding the supertanker’s grounding. “I wanted to weave all of these pieces together and knew that I faced a challenging task. But the personal connection and intriguing history made this a story I had to tell,” Day explains, and during the year 2000, she began in earnest. The effort fueled her professional and avocational passions. The result was a narrative that shaped her while she shaped it.

In the end, Day spent nearly a decade working evenings and summers around a full-time job and graduate school in order to complete her manuscript. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her research evaluates when, and under what conditions, whistleblower protection laws have effectively increased safety—particularly in industries where catastrophic accidents or failures may cause severe consequences for the health and safety of workers, for the public and local communities, or for the environment.

Redlight to Starboard: Recalling the Exxon Valdez Disaster

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