Twenty years ago March 24, 1989, the single-hulled tanker Exxon Valdez hit Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef in Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the sea. The spill contaminated about 1900 kilometers of the shoreline and killed hundreds of thousands of birds and mammals and harmed the fisheries of the area.
I made the cartoon above in 1991, and unfortunately it hit closer than I could then imagine. Exxon concentrated to wriggle out of responsibilities and used hundreds of millions of dollars to avoid and to delay all claims for damages.
Democracy Now writes:
“In 1994, an Alaskan jury found Exxon responsible and ruled the company should pay $5 billion in punitive damages to some 33,000 plaintiffs. Exxon appealed. In 2006, the 9th US Circuit Court cut the award of punitive damages in half to $2.5 billion. Then, in a 5-to-3 ruling last June, the Supreme Court cut the amount of punitive damages again and ordered Exxon Mobil to pay just $500 million in punitive damages, one-tenth of the original jury’s ruling. That equates to about four days of Exxon Mobil’s net profits.”
ExxonMobil has also gained international fame by funding the global warming denial lobby.
Documentary movie Black Wave: The legacy of the Exxon Valdez.
The Legacy of Exxon Valdez, video 15 min.