Sunday, June 29, 2008

Oil rage from the past

How the hell did this happen? Ignorance, apathy, and (the greatest weapon) time, that's how. Let me recap for those who have bad short term history memories. 19 years ago there was an oil spill in the Prince William Sound area when a drunken captain of the Exxon Valdez tanker ship ran it aground, spilling 11 MILLION gallons of crude oil into the surrounding wilderness. 5 years later, in 1984, a jury awarded the Sound area (landowners, business owners, etc.) a sum of $5 billion dollars in damages, to be paid out by ExxonMobil, a move many thought would send a striking message to oil companies that they were not untouchable and were accountable for their actions. And most people left it at that. Content that justice had been served. But not ExxonMobil. They took the case back to court. To the top. And what did Americas Highest Court decide? The entity that is supposed to reflect Americas highest ideal of law and justice? They changed the amount needed to be paid to these people whose lives were forever changed. The amount now is $507.5 million. Calculators out people. You know what that is? That's 10.15% of the original amount. Count in inflation for the past 14 years, and it is even less. That is also, approximately, the equivalent of 24 hours worth of petroleum sales.
Oh... a striking message has been made. To the oil companines, your actions may cost you no more than what you take in for a day. To the rest of us, look out. Your land, the land around you, wild life, and your livelihood have a price. One easily added into the oil companies expense books, and forgotten about.

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