Sunday, February 04, 2007

Exxon Owe's $5 Billion, Pays $0.

http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/6813/17504176982kap62cz0.jpg

On March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez departed from Valdez, Alaska, heading south with a full load of 52 million gallons of oil. Due to fatigue and excessive workloads the ship crashed and caused one of the biggest environmental disasters in history. It contaminated 1,200 miles of pristine shoreline and it killed 2,800 otters. Today the tanker is still leaking and a recent study found that there is more than 26,600 gallons of oil remaining at Prince William Sound. 26,000 gallons may not sound like a lot but even oil companies like Castrol will admit:
A single pint of oil can create an oil slick the size of a football field. A single gallon of used oil can contaminate a million gallons of fresh water.
Researchers say the oil spill is declining at a rate of only 4% a year and even slower in the Gulf of Alaska. Predictions that the sound would have recovered by now have shown to be inaccurate. Fishery scientists estimate that less than 10% of the oil was cleaned up.

After the oil spill Exxon was taken to court to cover the cleanup costs. In 1994 Exxon was fined $5 billion for negligence. That debt still remains unpaid. Meanwhile over 1,200 of the plaintiffs have passed away. Victor Smith, a fisherman, lost more than $1 million due to the spill and says the herring fish community still hasn't recovered. Smith has since given up fishing and now hauls freight.

For those that have a knack for law, feel free to read the 2006 decision which is available via this PDF. 32,000 people are waiting compensation.

Source:
The Guardian, 18 years on, Exxon Valdez oil still pours into Alaskan waters, Ewen MacAskill in Washington, Friday February 2, 2007
Seattle Times/Common dreams, The Lingering Lessons of the Exxon Valdez Spill, Monday, March 22, 2004, Marybeth Holleman
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT, No. 04-35182 D.C. No.
CV-89-00095-HRH

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT, No. 04-35182 D.C. No.
CV-89-00095-HRH

Seattlepi, Exxon still owes for Valdez spill, Despite profits, oil giant holds billions awarded to victims, MIKE LEWIS, Monday, March 13, 2006
Staley,Laurel. "Petroleum Oils." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2000: March 26, 2003.

12 comments:

John F said...

Evidence, perhaps, that despite their recent public acknowledgments of anthropogenic GW, Exxon is *not* turning into some kind of conscience-driven company.

J. S. - (Wacki) said...

It would certainly seem that way.

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