Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another Chapter for Exxon Valdez

One would not expect to go a semester in a Remedies class without hearing about the Exxon Valdez case. The Exxon Valdez oil spill was one of the largest, and most expensive, environmental accidents in the history of the United States. The tanker hit Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef and spilled an estimated 10.8 million gallons of crude oil into the Sound. The impact of the spill on the Alaska native villages continues to “hold the region hostage.”

The accident occurred nearly twenty years ago, yet the class action brought by 32,677 local fisherman impacted by the tragedy, has continued for over thirteen years. Today, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that a fractured Supreme Court issued a ruling that the $2.5 billion in punitive damages awarded against Exxon Mobil was excessive. The opinion, authored by Justice Souter, stated the following: “The award here should be limited to an amount equal to compensatory damages.” ($287 million has been awarded against Exxon Mobil in the suit.) The Court concluded that federal environmental laws do not bar punitive damage awards.

To date, Exxon Mobil has paid $3.4 billion in clean-up costs, remediation and fines. The tanker itself has been retired after an unsuccessful attempt to rename it (Sea River Mediterranean). The slip-op can be read here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are these the Actions of Our US Lady Justice?

Tipping Scales?
Peeking for Corporate Interest?
Accepting Bribes?
Knee Deep in Exxon Oil?
Allowing Human Life as Exxon's Collateral Damage?

To view Lady Justice:

An investigative study needs to be conducted into the thousands of Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS) workers' health issues, and acknowledged as Exxon's negligence; not left as Exxon's Collateral Damage.

This letter is released in the hope of informing the media, public and anyone who is concerned about human interest stories relating to the present oil and gas issues. Exxon has been fighting an Alaska jury's verdict for 14 years, contending that the $3.5 billion it already has spent following the worst oil spill in U.S. history is enough. The Alaska jury initially awarded $5 billion to 33,000 commercial fishermen, Native Alaskans, landowners, businesses and local governments.

After 19 years, and only four months of deliberating, on July 25, 2008 the US Supreme Court Justices announced their decision. They cut the punitive damages yet again. When that amount is divided by Alaska's plaintiff's lives that were destroyed by the oil spill; is $15,000 the Supreme Court's price of life? Exxon has still not accepted full responsibility for the tragic EVOS alleged cleanup of 1989. Yet, Exxon continues to boast of profits each year and along with other oil companies raise prices at the gasoline pumps.

Here is the rest of the story: In 1989 while media and public attention focused on the thousands of oil-coated and dead seabirds, otters, and other wildlife, little attention was given to the harm done to the cleanup workers.
As workers blasted oiled beaches with hot seawater from high pressure hoses, they were engulfed in toxic fumes containing aerosolized crude oil—benzene and other volatile compounds, oil mist, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. View photos at:

It is a major concern that the cleanup workers from the 1989 EVOS are suffering from long-term health problems resulting from toxic chemical exposures. A significant number of the workers have died. Some of the illnesses include neurological impairment, chronic respiratory disease, leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, liver damage, and blood diseases. View stories at:

Dr. Riki Ott has written two books; Sound Truth & Corporate Myth$ and Not One Drop.
Dr. Riki Ott has investigated, studied the oil spill spraying, and quotes numerous reports on the toxic chemicals used during the 1989 Prince William Sound oily beach cleanup in her books.
Riki Ott, PhD, phone: 907-424-3915email:

Submitted by: Merle (Bailey) Savage, General Foreman during the (EVOS) cleanup attempt of 1989. Phone:702-367-2224; email: