Thursday, February 28, 2008

Let Me Get This Straight...

Ok. Let me see if I have this right.

In 1989, the oil supertanker, Exxon Valdez, hit a reef in Prince Williams Sound, just off the coast of Alaska, resulting in one of the most catastrophic environmental disasters in history. Nearly 11 million gallons of crude oil contaminated 1,200 miles of ocean and pristine shoreline - immediately killing up to a half of a MILLION seabirds, 5,000 sea otters, 300 harbour seals, 250 bald eagles, 22 orcas and 12 river otters...not to mention the BILLIONS of salmon and herring eggs that were instantly destroyed. Local and Native communities were devastated, peoples' lives and livelihoods were destroyed, divorce and alcoholism rates soared and the mayor of the small town of Cordova committed suicide. The the ecological systems in and around Prince Williams Sound will take at least 30 years to recover, and the residents may never recover.

In 1994, a court awarded some of the victims (about 33,000 of them) $5 billion in punitive damages. Exxon immediately fought the judgement and was able to get the amount reduced to $2.5 billion.

In the meantime, Exxon has recovered a significant portion of the clean-up costs and legal expenses through insurance claims. And, the oil giant took a TAX DEDUCTION on its loss of a supertanker. And, they've been earning $400 million per year in interest on the money that it has set aside, just in case, somehow, it might have to pay for its negligence.

Then, in 2007, while the price of oil and war was crippling the American economy, Exxon-Mobil happily posted the LARGEST MOTHER FUCKING PROFIT IN HISTORY!!! While we were re-budgeting, and downgrading and buying cheaper foods at the grocery store, Exxon-Mobil posted a $404 billion profit. The previous record, ironically, was held by Exxon-Mobil.

Today, the crack team of big oil attorneys representing the interests of Exxon-Mobil sits in front of the Supreme Court of the United States of America and argues that the salmon is back and the seabirds are singing, so Exxon-Mobil shouldn't have to pay any damages to those people who survived the destruction of their lives and communities. They'll say that Exxon-Mobil has suffered enough and that the people of Alaska should just be thankful that they still have oil to export. Then, they'll get exactly what they want, because they own our government and our nation.

And next year, they'll beat their own profit record.


Dick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

Thank god you blogged about this. I saw the story on CNN and thought, "I should forward this to [Cyrus] and make sure he blogs about it." Of course, I forgot, but the thought was there. I think I was too busy worrying about how I'm going to afford $4 a gallon gas.

Drunkbunny said...

It truly boggles the mind. I'm surprised we don't have an uprising, but there is so much to be outraged about regarding corrupt government and business, I think the public is just stunned, turning this way and that, clueless on where to even start to fix things.

Dantallion said...

I missed this in the news. There was a time that corporate America represented triumphs of accomplishment. Now, more and more, it seems, it represents travesties of justice.

When are they going to be forced to clean up their act?

familyman said...

This is really an outrage! Outrage doesn't even cover it really.

I did get a little smile when I read this on -

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank notes that Chief Justice John Roberts appeared “bothered” that Exxon might have to pay for its destruction:

What bothered the chief justice was that Exxon was being ordered to pay $2.5 billion — roughly three weeks’ worth of profits — for destroying a long swath of the Alaska coastline in the largest oil spill in American history.

“So what can a corporation do to protect itself against punitive-damages awards such as this?” Roberts asked in court.

The lawyer arguing for the Alaska fishermen affected by the spill, Jeffrey Fisher, had an idea. “Well,” he said, “it can hire fit and competent people.”

The rare sound of laughter rippled through the august chamber. The chief justice did not look amused.

This country is really on it's way down the toilet.

Evans said...

exxon will never be forced to do anything besides make money, and its a real shame. For those who are interested, they are even doing their best to erase the public's memory of the oil spill:

(at the bottom, you should all check out wikiscanner if you haven't already)

Dream Catcher said...

I hear you I think big oil is poison and in the end were all going to pay whether it's with lives or our beautiful land...