March 24, 1989: The Exxon Valdez (at right), an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, runs aground as it departs the oil terminal at Valdez, Alaska, spilling up to 12 million gallons of crude oil in Prince William Sound. The spill prompted the U.S. Congress to pass the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, requiring the use of double-hulled tankers in U.S. waters. But civil damage suits filed by fishermen and others were not resolved for two decades.
March 24, 1996: Mark Schleifstein and John McQuaid, reporters for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, launch an epic eight-day news series called "Oceans of Trouble." Their reporting on the growing troubles, and possible salvation, of marine fisheries wins a 1997 Pulitzer Prize.
March 24, 1997: Facing $200 million in environmental regulations and the end to long-term logging contracts on the Tongass National Forest, the Ketchikan Pulp Co. closes its doors as the last pulp mill in Alaska.