Thursday, June 26, 2008
Democracy Now: Supreme Court Slashes Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Fine to One-Tenth of Original $5 Billion Ruling
Supreme Court Slashes Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Fine to One-Tenth of Original $5 Billion Ruling
Hosts: Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez
The Supreme Court handed corporate America a major victory this week when it sharply reduced the amount of money Exxon Mobil has to pay in punitive damages for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. An Alaskan jury had initially ruled Exxon should pay five billion dollars in punitive damages but in 2006, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court cut the award of punitive damages in half. On Wednesday, 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.
"The Supreme Court ruled that in maritime cases punitive damages should be no more than the actual damages. 32,000 Alaskan plaintiffs have been waiting for their compensation since 1994. The Supreme Court’s action will reduce the average award from $75,000 to about $15,000.
Last year Exxon Mobil made just over $40 billion in profits. This means the oil company will be able to pay the punitive damages in about four days. Sen. Patrick Leahy, chair of the Judiciary Committee, accused the court of giving Exxon Mobil a $2billion windfall."
Conservation GIS Center: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill - Affected Area
Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council: History
AlterNet: Shocking: 18 Years on and Exxon Still Won't Pay $2.5 Billion for Valdez Oil Spill
15 Year Anniversary of the Exxon Valdez Environmental Disaster