John Devens, Sr, executive director of the council from 1998 to 2009, passed away at his home in Copper Center, Alaska on June 13.
Devens was the mayor of Valdez when the Exxon Valdez tanker hit Bligh Reef, spilling 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound.
Devens headed the “Oiled Mayors,” a group of elected officials from Exxon Valdez-affected communities that banded together after the spill.
During Devens’ time as executive director, the council pushed for a number of improvements in the oil-industry operations in Prince William Sound including: a state-of-the-art radar system that monitors for ice from Columbia glacier drifting through the tanker shipping lanes; the reduction of harmful air vapors from the terminal ballast water treatment plant; and the arrival of the highly safety redundant, double rudder and double-engine room ships from Alaska Tanker and Polar Tanker into Prince William Sound.
After his retirement from the council, Devens ran a bed and breakfast for a number of years, and served as president of the board of directors of Connecting Ties, a non-profit that supports individuals who experience a disability.
Devens was interviewed for the council’s book The Spill, in 2007. His interview was archived recently through the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Oral History Program, Project Jukebox. You can access Devens profile through their website: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Project Jukebox – John Devens, Sr