Impetus for the Oil Pollution Act

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The Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill on March 24, 1989 was at the time the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The slick from the spill covered 1,300 miles of coastline and killed hundreds of thousands of seabirds, otters, seals, and whales.

A young firm at the time – ENTRIX, later Cardno ENTRIX, provided major response to this man-made disaster and immediately boosted its reputation for what it can deliver in the immediate aftermath of oil and chemical-related spills.

Early members of the team included Drs. Gordon Robilliard (now retired) and Ralph Markarian. At the time, Dr Markarian was a toxicologist for Exxon and later joined ENTRIX. He worked with other scientists in evaluating clean up technologies and impacts of oil on aquatic life. Dr Robilliard led staff on a number of studies investigating impacts of oil on the shoreline. 

These experiences and future hires, including Mr. Thomas Campbell who was the General Counsel for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during the incident, became the seed that developed into a team of well-respected consultants that led numerous Natural Resource Damage Assessments (NRDA) over the next three decades.

Soon Dr Ted Tomasi – a well-respected natural resource economist – was brought on to the team. Others like Mr. Bob Nailon, a wetlands specialist, led the practice in the Houston area. This core team provided the guidance and leadership to develop the practice into a nationally recognized team that could provide all aspects of support in NRDA.

They helped establish related specialized services, including water resources management, natural resources management, permitting and compliance, and liability management.
image of netting used in oil spill clean up

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