Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Tom Copeland

Tom Copeland

Tom Copeland was born in Hilo, Hawaii and raised in Tucson, Arizona. His family immigrated to Alaska in 1962, where Tom began fishing in Cordova the following year. On March 24, 1989 Tom was on the board of Cordova District Fishermen United. Two weeks after the oil spill, Tom resigned from the Board to do what he describes as “bucketeering” or removing oil from water by hand with buckets. Tom’s cleanup efforts were conducted independently from the organized industry and government cleanup operation. After the cleanup, Tom served as a representative to the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council from 1993-1995 and then from 1998-2004, as well as a charter member of the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Committee from 1991 to 2002. In 1996, Tom sued the State of Alaska over the inadequacies of their 1995 Contingency Plan for the Valdez Marine Terminal and associated oil tankers that outlined the prevention and response activities in the event of an oil spill. Tom is now retired from fishing and currently lives in Bellingham, Washington.

Date of Birth:
Apr 7, 1944
Tom Copeland appears in the following new Jukebox projects: