Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Jane Eisemann
Jane Eiseman

Jane Eisemann was interviewed on September 18, 2007 by Sharon Bushell in Kodiak, Alaska. Jane's interview was conducted as part of Sharon Bushell's work on the book, The Spill: Personal Stories from the Exxon Valdez Disaster, by Stan Jones and Sharon Bushell. (Kenmore, WA: Epicenter Press, 2009). In this interview, Jane talks about how the people of Kodiak responded to the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and the cleanup efforts that took place near Kodiak. She also talks about the emotional and economic impacts of the oil spill on the town of Kodiak.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2013-26-11

Project: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Project Jukebox
Date of Interview: Sep 18, 2007
Narrator(s): Jane Eisemann
Interviewer(s): Sharon Bushell
Transcriber: Joan O'Leary
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
Alaska Resources Library & Information Services, Alaska State Library, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
Slideshow
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Sections

Trying to get contracts for spill cleanup

Hearing about the oil approaching Kodiak

Kodiak's reaction to the oil spill

Working on the cleanup

Emotional and economic impact of the oil spill

The silver lining of the oil spill

Everybody doing the best they could

Working with Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council (RCAC)

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After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.

Transcript

SHARON BUSHELL: Hello, today is the 8 -- no-- today is the 18th of September and I am in Kodiak and I am interviewing Jane Eisemann. So, this one we don’t need to worry. It will pick you up anywhere. I just want to get a little bit closer and keep my eye on it. So -- so tell me about your relationship with the oil spill, Jane, and what you were doing and what you did?

JANE EISEMANN: hmm.

SHARON BUSHELL: Because I don’t know.

JANE EISEMANN: Well, at the time I was student teaching at the middle school. I had just -- was working on getting my teaching certification and I had been fishing commercially for years putting myself through college.

And I remember that it was over Easter vacation and it was Good Friday and I had gone for a run with my mentor teacher and we were on our way back into town and we stopped to get gas and I had the radio on -- KMXD our local public radio station and they had just -- that’s when we first heard the news. I was -- you know, it was kind of ironic I was putting gas in the car and I was thinking wow here I am putting gas in the car.

So, a lot of things went through my mind. We were getting ready to go herring fishing that year and our herring season wasn’t affected, but when we came back we were told that in Kodiak it was doubtful whether we would have a season or not.

And so everyone was scrambling to get contracts and it was just -- it was really crazy because town just went nuts and a lot of boats got contracts. The previous year had just been a killer season. Everybody did great and so a lot of people upgraded and -- with their fishing equipment and got bigger boats and those were typically the boats that got contracts for all the various jobs that were happening, you know, tending boom in front of the hatcheries or running people around, you know, and they were --

SHARON BUSHELL: And what type of fishing have you been doing?

JANE EISEMANN: Oh, gosh I’d done everything up to that point, but we -- I had just gotten back from herring fishing.

SHARON BUSHELL: Oh, okay.

JANE EISEMANN: And when we were told that we probably wouldn’t get to fish salmon. So the gentleman that I was fishing with scrambled to try to get contracts as well, but there wasn’t enough -- they -- the contracts he did get for cleanup effort over in Prince William Sound he only needed one crew at a time and so the rest of us were kind -- we were gonna shift -- rotate through jobs over there.

And so in the meantime here in Kodiak I worked for a lawn care -- a gentleman that provide -- you know, did maintenance for lawns and whatnot.

And I remember I was down in the -- down here in the mall and I had a weed burner and one of the contracts -- the gentleman I was working with he had a contract with the city to wash down streets and kind of keep the area clean and one of the things was to weed burn and here I am with my little weed burner -- my propane torch and I remember the superintendent of schools at the time he comes up -- he goes Jane, what are you doing here? Why aren’t you out fishing?

And I just looked at him and I said well I paying the bills John and there is no fishing. And he -- and I guess he wasn’t aware that our fleet was tied up for the most part and people were scrambling --

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: To get work because at that point Exxon had say -- had said we will make you whole, but, of course, there was some doubt about all of that.

SHARON BUSHELL: Right.

JANE EISEMANN: It was just a crazy time because some people got contracts, some people didn’t. It -- it, you know, it really split our community between the haves -- the contract people and the haves not.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: The contract people and there was a lot of bitterness.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah, it is almost as though it was a well thought out move on the part of Exxon to divide and conquer.

JANE EISEMANN: Well, it -- if that was the case, they did a good job, but, you know, it was really interesting after we found out about the spill, I kind of jumped ahead in history there to the herring season which was oh, a month later we -- we actually left to go out to Togiak.

But in the classroom where I was working as a student teacher we had the radio on all day long. Everybody was tuned to the radio and it was like listening to troops, you know, as we -- as we listened to the progress that the spill was making towards Kodiak.

It was really frightening. I mean it was, you know, reports on the half hour how far the oil had moved and trying to speculate whether it was going to make it to Kodiak and listening to our, you know, mayor and the different people trying to come up with a plan.

What are we going to do if it does get here? And it was -- it was fascinating and scary at the same time. It was kind of like the enemy was approaching and we were getting, you know, updates on how close the enemy was.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yes.

JANE EISEMANN: And what we’re going to do and it just kind of got worse from there.

And I went -- you know, when we went out to Togiak, we were keeping our -- listening, you know, paying attention to what was happening and how far the oil was getting.

And when I came back -- got back to Kodiak, I had some friends that were working on the spill and their stories were just devastating about what they had seen and, you know, a lot of people here got contracts to go pick up oiled animals, rescue, but mostly dead animals off the beach and just -- just heartbreaking photographs which everybody has seen.

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: You know the images are still even today so -- so long after the fact are just -- they’re devastating. I show this film in my classroom. I teach Maritime Science and Technology and -- and we’d look at the oil industry and we -- and we -- and I try to present it in such a way that it's not opinionated, but it is hard at times. But there are some images --

SHARON BUSHELL: Sorry,

JANE EISEMANN: That’s alright.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Here we are.

JANE EISEMANN: Okay.

SHARON BUSHELL: Hello, yes, we are recording. Okay, we’re back on with Jane Eiseman, okay.

JANE EISEMANN: So anyway there is -- there is some images in some of the footage that I show that still just brings tears to my eyes. You know, I’m a softy anyway, but it is just -- it's very fresh still.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yes.

JANE EISEMANN: After all these years.

SHARON BUSHELL: Right.

JANE EISEMANN: Memories are incredibly fresh and as we deal with the possible end of it all it -- well I mean the -- the financial end of it all, you know, what is Exxon going to do. I just want it to be over -- I, you know, just -- just let it be -- let that be over whatever way -- whatever way it turns out, but it will never be over.

I mean, there is just going to be some lingering things with emotional lingerings and environment lingerings and, but anyway so.

SHARON BUSHELL: So Stacy was telling me about how the town got together and burned the Exxon Valdez and Joe Hazelwood in effigy and what -- what was that shift like in -- in the town from I don’t know it seems like it -- it must have gone from I don’t know just a sense of betrayal of trust to betrayal.

I was -- I was much less cognizant of it in Homer. We weren’t in anyway affiliated with the fisheries plus I had two very young children.

JANE EISEMANN: Uh-huh.

SHARON BUSHELL: Constantly running around and I had just -- my eye was just not on what was happening, but what was that like in Kodiak?

JANE EISEMANN: Well, most of that -- some -- well I - um -- I -- I wasn’t here when they had the -- the big -- the rally.

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: I was -- I think I was already either I was in Togiak -- I can’t remember. Did Stacy say what the date was?

SHARON BUSHELL: No.

JANE EISEMANN: Of that? I’ve seen pictures of it. I might have already been over do -- part of the cleanup effort in Prince William Sound at that point. So I wasn’t here for that, but I do remember more of a sense of getting together as a community to do what we could to protect what we still had.

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: And they were building boom out at the Coast Guard Base and they had taken over one of the -- the hangars and this just incredible frenzy of activity and optimism that we could protect what we had, but this incredible sadness because all of these images were coming back into town from people who had been out on, you know, on the -- mostly I said the retrieval of oiled animals most of them dead

And -- and there was a sense of betrayal but honestly, you know, I have kind of different -- because I was looking at it from the fishing industry and just trying to get back out on the water and wondering how I was going to pay bills.

I mean that was kind of secondary to what was happening environmentally, but at that time they were -- I mean I had student loans I had to pay back and here my -- my job was taken away from me that -- that I had put myself through school and, you know, but I mean there were still loans.

So I think I was just more focused on wondering if I was ever gonna get to go fishing again number one and really thinking about the reality of that and number two in the, you know, the -- the near time sense of what am I going to do this summer because I have already said that, so anyway I ended up getting a job and --

SHARON BUSHELL: So you went to -- to work on the cleanup.

JANE EISEMANN: In Prince William Sound. SHARON BUSHELL: In Prince William Sound.

JANE EISEMANN: The -- the gentleman that I was fishing with kind of a mover and a shaker and realized that if he was -- if he was going to keep it together with what he needed he was going to have to get a contract and there was more contracts being offered I think in Prince William Sound.

So he had many contracts -- different contracts. The first crew member went over and assisted him. He had -- taking out people that were collecting baseline data trying to find some baseline data fisheries research.

And then when I got there we had a contract to deliver mail to all the different task forces in the Sound and that was phenomenal because it was kind of being fought like a war, you know, I -- I --this when the -- the -- the oil was approaching I felt like the enemy is approaching and then when I went into the battleground it was -- it was like being fought like a war with task forces and the talk on the radio.

It was -- it was fascinating listening to the radio over there because you heard -- there was people that didn’t even speak English that were -- they speaking Patois that were from the Gulf States that were up. Every imaginable craft to fight this war.

It was truly amazing when it all got pulled together as far as what it took for that initial cleanup.

SHARON BUSHELL: Spell Patois for me and tell me more about that.

JANE EISEMANN: Oh, I don’t know how to spell Patois -- P-A-T- -- it’s kind of --

SHARON BUSHELL: Okay, well I’ll find out.

JANE EISEMANN: Yeah, look it up, but it is like a Gulf kind of French.

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh. Yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: Yeah.

SHARON BUSHELL: Okay, so -- so you’re the first one who has spoken about this conglomeration of nations out there. I’ve never heard it --

JANE EISEMANN: Well, not so much nations, but I think people from around -- the United States and I, you know, I think there was -- was a national -- international effort for the cleanup because I think there was -- and I don’t know for certain but I’m assuming that there was expertise in other parts of the world that came up but I could be wrong on that, but boats from all over.

I mean we had the largest floating crane in the world. As -- this is my recollection. I have pictures of it and I remember tying up to the -- one of the pontoons I guess you would say. That, you know, they can tow this crane around.

I remember coming up to it. It was being used to house workers that were part of that task force and this huge monstrosity of this float, you know, this floating unit. And I remember pulling up to it and it was kind of foggy and you couldn’t see the top of it. It was so far in the clouds.

SHARON BUSHELL: Wow.

JANE EISEMANN: And one of the -- the big pontoons -- I guess when they -- they tow it they retract these pilings I guess and they can tow it and then when they get on scene they -- they -- they extend like a telescope down and they fill them full of water for the ballast and I don’t know if it actually rests on the bottom.

I don’t know how deep it was where we were at, but this huge thing, you know. I was on a 42 foot boat which is not a big boat, but one piling just dwarfed us. It was kind of scary tying up to this thing.

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: And there were tugboats from everywhere and floating barges that they put conexes on, you know, to house people and going to these places. We had a -- a route that took us oh a day and a half to deliver all the mail and whatever groceries and packages and things that people wanted.

And every place we pulled in it was just so interesting because typically we would get there some of them at mealtime and it was -- I would go aboard, you know, aboard these places and we would be invited to eat and the opulence of the meals that were provided for the workers was just and the waste was phenomenal with the food and the steaks and prime, you know, prime rib and avocados and artichokes and then you would see what they tossed out and it was just crazy. Mangoes and I brought this little gift box over --

SHARON BUSHELL: Things we hunger for.

JANE EISEMANN: Yeah. I brought this little gift box of mangoes over to the gentleman I was working for thinking oh, this will be a treat and he looked at those and then he opened up one of the places we stored on the boat and it was full of all that stuff already. He said --

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: We get whatever we want, but one gentleman I talked to on board one of these floating hotels to house the workers --

SHARON BUSHELL: Now just before you go -- you said conex. What is --

JANE EISEMANN: Oh, it is like a --

SHARON BUSHELL: What is that abbreviation for?

JANE EISEMANN: Oh, I don’t know -- a contain -- it is a container like a container van.

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: But you have them so they -- you can put windows in them and they’re like quick housing on a scene.

SHARON BUSHELL: Okay.

JANE EISEMANN: At different places.

SHARON BUSHELL: Okay.

JANE EISEMANN: You can put them on the decks of boats.

SHARON BUSHELL: Alrighty.

JANE EISEMANN: And so they may have bunks in them.

SHARON BUSHELL: Okay.

JANE EISEMANN: So, but I was talking to John what is it like being part of this cleanup effort and being housed on this floating conglomeration and he says it is a cross between being in high school and being in jail. Is that interesting?

SHARON BUSHELL: Yes.

JANE EISEMANN: And you would just see all these -- it was, you know, just the dynamics between everybody because all of these people. I don’t know where they got all these people to do the cleanup. I know where I came from, but some of these people were not -- a lot of them weren’t from Alaska.

It was kind of like they just went out and got this little people magnet and anything that stuck to the magnet they shipped it north cause they needed bodies. So you had people from all walks of life.

SHARON BUSHELL: I’ve had people from -- one gal from DEC describe it as the Woodstock of oil spills.

JANE EISEMANN: That makes sense.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: It was and so you would see all of this interaction these people that are working hard all day and being in an environment that is not especially, the -- the -- you know, here you are in the most beautiful place in the world and yet what are you doing.

You know, I mean there is these -- it was just -- and watching from people taking those big -- the pompons and wiping rocks off to the guys and gals that are using high pressure hoses and breathing in all of that stuff all day long to picking up dead animals.

I mean it just -- the jobs were --

SHARON BUSHELL: So did you get to stay on the mail crew, was that --

JANE EISEMANN: We did that -- it was fun. We did that for -- I did that for three weeks and then we got a job as a water taxi.

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: In the Port of Valdez. I had clean jobs.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: I was really fortunate and then my last job I got on a tugboat.

SHARON BUSHELL: Well tell me about being on a water taxi. Nobody has talked about this kind of stuff before.

JANE EISEMANN: Well, there was vessels anchored everywhere in the -- the -- there in front, you know, in the front of Valdez. There was big boats that were waiting for a chance to get, you know, tugboats waiting for a chance to get next to the dock that were anchored up.

There was a vessel -- a floating -- oh, boats their holds had to be cleaned before they could move from point A to point B, you know, or to leave the Sound.

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: And so they have this contraption where boats -- a floating contraption where they could go and get lifted out of the water on the water --

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: And sprayed off. SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: And there was all different kinds of vessels that were playing some role in the cleanup that there wasn’t enough place for boats to tie up.

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: So they'd be anchored off shore and so the people on board those boats would have to travel back and forth.

SHARON BUSHELL: Oh, yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: You know, to Valdez and back out to their boat or maybe to another boat so we were the water taxi and they would call us up and, you know, we need a pickup on -- it was just like being a taxi but on the water.

SHARON BUSHELL: Wow.

JANE EISEMANN: So that was really interesting.

SHARON BUSHELL: Interesting to talk to somebody who had a relatively happy job on the oil spill.

JANE EISEMANN: I did. I did. Yeah.

SHARON BUSHELL: I mean -- yeah, we know it is a crisis, but everybody played different roles and it is very refreshing to hear somebody who had a less than hideous experience.

JANE EISEMANN: It wasn’t hideous. The hideous part was the emotional drain I saw like back to Kodiak before I left here to go over to Prince William Sound just the heartbreak and the haves and have nots again, you know there -- it kind of split our community and I think we’re still experiencing that.

We have in our -- I think this is a common phrase everywhere but we have spillionaires.

SHARON BUSHELL: Oh.

JANE EISEMANN: And so many homes in our community well I don’t how many, but enough that I know the ones they are. Homes were built and new boats purchased or new gear or moving along in the fishery or changing gears a lot of that was financed.

It is my opinion that a lot of that was financed. I didn’t see anybody’s records so this is all my opinion.

But that was -- were financed by moneys that were made on the spill and that was very hard for people who -- like I said, we just came off of a phenomenal salmon season the year before -- 1988 was phenomenal and everybody expected it to happen again and they were banking on it and it didn’t happen and it has never been the same since.

And so that just -- so kind of a funny story. The gentleman I worked for had a flatbed pickup and -- that-- we used it here in town to haul nets and stuff. It was part of his business and we were -- I guess we were going to take the herring net off the -- the boat and he had the flatbed and he said well take it up to the gas station and he goes try this.

When they ask for the, you know, who to charge it to he said say VECO and see what happens. I did and they said thank you very much.

SHARON BUSHELL: Oh (chuckle).

JANE EISEMANN: So that flatbed, you know, fuel bill was not paid for by my skipper and I -- and I feel guilty about that because that is typically not my --

SHARON BUSHELL: Your style --

JANE EISEMANN: --my style, but there were people who went to the grocery store and they had endless account and they were filling their freezers and their friend’s freezers and it was just blatant.

People just took advantage and they felt they -- it -- they deserved and I -- and I -- I understand that.

SHARON BUSHELL: Right. Who is to say?

JANE EISEMANN: I understand that totally so -- but back to the -- I -- I always thought it would be fun to -- I saw all these people coming in from the task forces, you know, they had done their tour of duty and they were coming into Valdez and these people getting off these boats and getting on buses heading them north back to Anchorage or whatever and just to look kind of like they were shell shocked and some of them probably had never had that much money in their pockets ever and here they are.

They're going back to civilization with no -- civilization with no guidance on what to do because they may never make this kind of money again in their whole lives and I just felt so bad.

I took -- I should set up this counseling thing. Everybody has to talk to me before they go off on with their lives. I was worried about these people that had made all this money and had just been through this incredible experience and how that was going to fit into the rest of their life and I wanted everybody to make the right decision because, you know, it was such a freak thing.

The money got -- that thrown at this spill and another funny story. Stop me when I get going.

SHARON BUSHELL: Okay.

JANE EISEMANN: Here -- if you --

SHARON BUSHELL: You’re good.

JANE EISEMANN: We were coming out of Kachemak Bay on our way -- we had just come back from Togiak. We were seeing the hustle and bustle in Homer. People were building boom. We were told we weren’t going to get fish in Kodiak where the oil was, where, you know, so we were coming back to Kodiak and we were leaving Kachemak Bay and I knew that there was a lot of otters, you know, that didn’t make it -- oiled otters.

And we are heading out of the bay and up in front of us I see this bloated huge I mean he is just bloated with his paws stuck up floating just stiff on the water and I’m just thinking I don’t want to see this.

This is gonna break my heart, you know. And somebody on board said well let’s go get a closer look. Let’s go check it out.

So we go up to it and I’m just like I don’t want to watch this but I am kind of up on the bow and we get up to this otter and the otter is not dead. He finally -- he’s sleeping and he is so fat and so bloated and he looks at us and he throws his paws up in the air and I just see these huge eyes and all these teeth and this huge scream and then he dives and I just about -- I don’t -- all I wanted to do was cry and go yeah, because it was a happy story.

This otter was okay, you know, but it was just kind of like, you know, I was expecting the worse and the best happened.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: In that little situation.

SHARON BUSHELL: Well how about the kids at the middle school? Did you -- what kind of reactions did you get from them?

JANE EISEMANN: They were -- well, it was so foreign because nothing like this had -- this had ever happened and I think they were just trying to get a grasp on why we were concerned because it wasn’t anything they could -- it wasn’t in their face because it wasn’t right here at that time.

I -- I think there was a bit of fear because adults were so concerned. I don’t remember any specific incidences with kids in that they wanted to know more.

I mean a lot of the kids’ families were in the fishing industry and I think we -- honestly I can’t remember. I just remember the radio was on the desk.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: And it was on --

SHARON BUSHELL: That's a long time ago.

JANE EISEMANN: All day long, but some of the kids after I did get my teaching certification were my students when -- cause I teach at the high school and I was doing my stint in the middle school and some of the kids have gone through my class that worked with their parents on the cleanup that the boat -- that they remember.

Now when I talk to my students most of them were born the year that happened and they don’t have any really recollection. You know they hear stories but it is so -- it really is ancient history to them.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: And I know some of them are -- their -- their parents are concerned about how this is going to play out with the moneys because a lot of my students their families are in, you know, have claims and stand to do quite well.

SHARON BUSHELL: Right. Yes for better or worse.

JANE EISEMANN: It is a scary thing and that scares me. If it comes through and the money happens, what is going to happen to our town?

SHARON BUSHELL: Exactly.

JANE EISEMANN: It is going to be like the same thing over again.

SHARON BUSHELL: Right.

JANE EISEMANN: Because so many people didn’t put in claims that could have and it is just -- it is going to be ugly again and it really scares me about what -- it is just going to go on for a while and if it doesn’t come through the way people want it there is just going to be a lot -- some people have banked on it.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: Totally and they are leading lives like it is going to happen and they’re in debt now and that’s scary.

SHARON BUSHELL: Oh, yeah. Boy, when you dealing with people like Exxon I don’t know how much I would want to take that to the bank?

JANE EISEMANN: Oh, well it's all been interesting, but this oil spill had such a silver lining for me and if I had to live it over again would I want to happen of course not, you know. My silver lining wasn’t worth the -- the -- just the devastation on all levels.

But I was very fortunate in that I have kind of -- I’m always thinking ahead and I realize that some of these contracts that people got that first summer cleaning up were -- were very lucrative and there was some talk about well next year we were going clean up the places that need to be looked at again or move on and there was all this talk about but we’re not hiring any skippers unless they have their Coast Guard licensed and I kept that in the back of my mind thinking, um -- that sounds like an opportunity.

You know, what am I going to do with my life here? I can’t go fishing, you know, we didn’t -- we still didn’t know whether we were going to go salmon fishing the next year.

So I thought well this could be a career move for me. I’ve got enough years on the water maybe I should get my Coast Guard license and see if next summer there is a chance at getting a contract. And so I went down to Seattle (phone ringing). Oh, I’m sorry.

SHARON BUSHELL: Not a problem. It is a nice cell phone ring.

JANE EISEMANN: Hello.

SHARON BUSHELL: Okay.

JANE EISEMANN: Okay, so anyway I’m rambling.

SHARON BUSHELL: Oh, no, no, no, rambling is good. Rambling is good because we can always cut and paste.

JANE EISEMANN: Okay. Well anyway the next summer I did get a job running a boat and my world just opened up. My maritime world opened up totally by getting that Coast Guard license which if we hadn’t have had the spill I wouldn’t have been -- never in my mind did I think I wanted to go that way in -- in my career.

You know I was happy just fishing as a crewman and putting myself through college which I had done and --

SHARON BUSHELL: So there was -- it is my understanding that the cleanup ended right then and there, but there was the second -- the second summer?

JANE EISEMANN: We had the second summer. It wasn’t a big effort.

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: At least -- well I worked out of on the north end of Kodiak and then on the mainland and really it was so tedious. I mean the crews would go to the beach -- my job was I just had great jobs.

Hauling people back and forth to the mother -- from the mother ship to the beach, taking waste in these big bags from the beach back to the mother ship so it could get to an incinerator.

I just -- it was -- it was a great job for me. I don’t know what the cleanup effort was in other places, you know, as far in the Sound and the folks that I worked with certainly had attitude that the folks that were part of Exxon and VECO.

I got along fine with them, but it was definitely kind of us and them.

SHARON BUSHELL: I should imagine.

JANE EISEMANN: Yeah, it would -- anyway, but --

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah, I'll be interviewing some of them pretty soon here. Well, I already have. I have done --

JANE EISEMANN: Yeah.

SHARON BUSHELL: I’ve done some of them.

JANE EISEMANN: It was just, you know, all the people involved it is so sad the people that worked for, you know, that worked for Exxon, the people that worked for VECO, the people that -- they were thrown into this disaster and everybody did the best they could.

And even though the mandate from wherever at times seemed to be conquer and divide or I don’t know I just -- I think basically people were backed into corners.

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: And they just fought.

SHARON BUSHELL: Uh-huh.

JANE EISEMANN: And you know I look at interviews from back then when representatives from Exxon or from VECO would try to pacify a group of angry people and I felt so bad for those people that were up there trying to do the pacifying because there is really nothing they could say.

SHARON BUSHELL: Right.

JANE EISEMANN: That could make it any better and some things were said that in the end weren’t true like this quote we will make you whole and -- and I’m sure that that gentleman that said that truly believed that that was going to happen. Maybe he didn’t, but --

SHARON BUSHELL: He wanted to.

JANE EISEMANN: He wanted to and in the end I don’t know what that is after a disaster like that. It can’t -- you can’t -- it's just beyond money. You can’t repair emotions and you can’t repair a loss of an ecosystem as far as and yeah, it’s doing a lot better, but you can’t -- you can’t -- you can’t fix that.

And time is -- is certainly helping on a lot of levels, but the mistakes were already made prior to that, you know, and it is just this chain of events that made, you know, that allowed that accident to happen.

So I am so thankful that we had OPA 90 and that we have this Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council.

We’re -- we're vigilant 24/7 and we’re still concerned that we are going to have an accident. Back then I don’t think -- I think we just got con -- well complacent is the key word, you know.

I think everybody did not just -- not just the oil companies and the transporters, but we all did. We all thought that it was being taken care of.

SHARON BUSHELL: Right. Yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: And it just wasn’t and so, you know, we hope we all have kind of learned, but I see we’re slipping back in it.

SHARON BUSHELL: Right.

JANE EISEMANN: The complacency on many levels in many industries in our country.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah, it sounds like RCAC is just having to watchdog those guys.

JANE EISEMANN: Well, and but the thing is that it is really I -- it’s gratifying to work with industry even though we butt heads all the time.

SHARON BUSHELL: And it's gratifying because --

JANE EISEMANN: It's gratifying because I think that we all -- that we make progress that even though the bottom line is making money for shareholders in different companies that is what it is all about that we can do it and I’d like to think that everybody involved wants to do it in the safest way possible, but that money thing, you know.

We don’t want to pay to make it the safest way, but there is certainly the money to pay for it.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yes.

JANE EISEMANN: That’s my opinion.

SHARON BUSHELL: So you’re on the board of directors --

JANE EISEMANN: Uh-huh.

SHARON BUSHELL: In -- what’s your position there?

JANE EISEMANN: I represent the City of Kodiak. And in the past I’ve been on the Executive Committee, but I kinda took a step back this year to make time for some other things and -- but I sit on various committees on the Finance Committee and the -- well there is just so many committees.

You can be as involved as you want --

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah.

JANE EISEMANN: If you’re in Prince William and RCAC and it is just fascinating. It is right up my dirt road with what I teach in my classroom and I just -- I just love it.

SHARON BUSHELL: Well, you know, well the light is perfect. I’m supposed to get a photograph of you.

JANE EISEMANN: Oh.

SHARON BUSHELL: And the light is just perfect for right now for this and it is going to change --

JANE EISEMANN: Okay.

SHARON BUSHELL: In just a minute so just let me. Indulge me.

JANE EISEMANN: I look like such a fuddy-duddy.

SHARON BUSHELL: Oh, come on. Perfect. Now you tell me is that a fuddy-duddy and oh, here.

JANE EISEMANN: I think that one's okay. There, that works.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yeah, that’s good.

JANE EISEMANN: But I guess as a -- in conclusion, unless you had another question.

SHARON BUSHELL: No.

JANE EISEMANN: Sounds like you got Baleakca (phonetic) on the line.

I’d like to be -- I guess I’m an optimist in that as humans we want to do the right thing and we learn from our mistakes. That’s my optimistic. I’m not -- I’m not just talking about oil companies, but, you know, the paths that we choose as a culture, as a society what we choose to do, how we choose to run our lives and so much of that is dependent upon practices that harm the environment with regards to our fuel addictions.

I would like to think that we’re gonna figure this thing out so we don’t have to depend on resources that the use of can demean our environment, but on the other hand I don’t think we’re learning these lessons.

I think we just grasp at what’s next and what’s cheap. And the dollar plays such an important role in helping and so I -- I would like to think we won’t have another accident and -- but I don’t know.

SHARON BUSHELL: Well optimism is good that’s for sure. We need more of it.

JANE EISEMANN: Yeah.

SHARON BUSHELL: Getting bogged down in all of the heartache I don’t know. I don’t know how much that has done anybody very much good.

JANE EISEMANN: No.

SHARON BUSHELL: I have twenty pens in here. I have your photograph. I need to get your consent. There you go.

And once I get this transcribed and edited then -- why don’t you put your e-mail on here so I can send you a copy and you can make sure that there aren’t any glaring inaccuracies.

JANE EISEMANN: Inaccuracies.

SHARON BUSHELL: I made the mistake of when I was first fetching interviews I made the mistake of telling one gal to -- she -- to change it, you know, to go ahead and make changes.

JANE EISEMANN: Uh-huh.

SHARON BUSHELL: What -- wherever she saw fit and she rewrote the whole thing. It was just awful -- just awful and she had a really poignant story. She was an innkeeper in Kodiak or Cordova and hers was a very unique story.

So now I have to wait until the time is just right and go to her home in Anchorage and get down on bended knee and beg her to let us keep the original story, but I’ll do it.

JANE EISEMANN: I really get frustrated with the -- I hope I’m never labeled as a self-righteous environmentalist.

SHARON BUSHELL: (Laughter).

JANE EISEMANN: And sometimes I think that industry looks at everybody on the RCAC as being that or a lot of us and ecology we use just as much oil as the next guy (inaudible) just got to be -- just do the best we can.

SHARON BUSHELL: Well if anybody calls you a self-righteous ecologist, I’ll --

JANE EISEMANN: We’re -- we're environmentalists, yes. I think.

SHARON BUSHELL: Yes, I’ll --

JANE EISEMANN: We’re dealing with an issue right now on our little lake that we live on -- Island Lake, about --