Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Unbelieveable! Exxon tries to get out of $2.5 Billion Alaska punitive damage claim

OUTRAGEOUS! I am fuming! I just heard on NPR that Exxon Mobil is appealing a $2.5 billion punitive damage claim at the Supreme court for the environmental damage caused by the Exxon Valdez oil disaster.

They still refuse to take corporate responsibility for the horrendous damage their oil spill caused in Alaskan waters despite record profits of $36B in 2005, $39.5B in 2006 and $40.6B in 2007 with probably another record year in store.

I stopped going to Exxon then Mobil stations (when Mobil was acquired by Exxon) after I heard/read about the extent of the environmental damage caused by the oil spill and Exxon's stonewalling and foot dragging to accept responsibility for the clean up and long drawn out court battles to escape payment for damages.

It's been 19 years since the Exxon Valdez oil spill!

Here's a nice synopsis of the oil spill from Wikipedia.

Exxon Mobile is not good citizen of this planet. Their corporate GREED is unmatched!

I urge you to boycott their gas stations and products.

Update: Thursday 2/28/08 NY Times report on the Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday.

Here's the PBS Newshour report on the Supreme Court argument for today (Wednesday).

Slate's take on Wednesday's proceedings.

MSNBC report (Wednesday).

NPR webpage.

See this NY Times /AP article for more details.


Blogger Entangled said...

I too haven't willingly gone to an Exxon station since the big oil spill, but I guess our efforts haven't hurt them much.

The Shell station I had been going to just installed video screens on their gas pumps, delivering advertising and inane programming to a captive audience. I got back in my car while the pump was running, but I won't go there again either.

4:37 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Entangled,
I read somewhere that there are actually very few distillers producing most of the gasoline so unfortunately even if the sign says Shell it may be Exxon producing the gas. The name brands add their own additives to the gas.

I use the cheapest off brand gas I can find. I read an article by a master mechanic who said he has used off brand gas all his life and hasn't noticed any difference in performance, wear or deposits on engine tear downs.

Unfortunately the off brands may source their gas from Exxon and just put in cheaper additives or none to keep the price low. :(

I guess the only thing left to do is drive less, bike and use public transportation which is easy to do in a city like Seattle which as extensive bus service - no home is more than 2 blocks from a bus route - but difficult in NJ suburbia with more than a mile to the nearest bus stop. :((

5:38 AM  
Blogger Matt and Jen said...

Thanks for taking the time to bring this to our awareness. May I also add BP to the list of 'to-be-boycotted'? Remember the BP Texas refinery where they calculated the cost of making repairs compared to how much it would cost them to pay off any victims' families? You can read more about it Eva Rowe's web site.
I avoid them too.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hello Matt and Jen,

Thanks for the heads up on BP. And thanks for the Eva Rowe website url. What a tragedy.

Unfortunately the big corporations are willing to spend millions in legal fees fighting victims who can hardly afford even a lawyer. And here I thought BP was trying to show a kinder, more enlightened, greener face.

If Exxon settled all the claims of the Valdez spill, $2.5b punitive, $3.4b clean up and claimed a loss on their taxes, would that equal the legal expenses incurred during the time of the spill to present and beyond? Even if the legal fees wouldn't come close to the almost $6b judgment, Exxon would surely have garnered some good will by owing up to the damage they caused. Well maybe not good will but at least corporate responsibility.

Makes me sick to think they can bully their way for not accepting responsibility when they are raking in billions of dollars in profit.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Les said...

Not to lessen your outrage, but I think all of us who drive are tainted in some way, no matter where we buy our fuel. I only hope that soon we will have realistic alternatives to the current way of doing things -- it certainly is needed.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hello Les,
Unfortunately you are absolutely right.

We used to bicycle extensively but have fallen on more sedentary ways. At one time I even entertained the idea of hauling groceries in our old kids trailer we managed to keep for more than 20 years but never seemed to have the time. With gas projected to cost $3.50 - $4.00 a gallon this spring maybe now's a good time to dust off the bike and trailer. Would do me good to get aerobically fit again too.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Digital Flower Pictures said...

I surprised how well the Valdez area had come back when I was there a few years ago. I don't know what Exxon's problem is that is almost chump change to them.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Yeah... I felt pretty disgusted the way you did when I heard the story, Ki. Their argument that there was no need for punitive damages because the cleanup fees were so high is ridiculous. This was the first time, too, that I heard that they had known the captain of the ship was a relapsed alcoholic for at least 2-3 years before the accident. (I don't remember that part, but then I was 12 when it happened, and not so much up on current events then.)

8:08 PM  
Blogger Mad Man Bamboo said...

Exxon is a company, no consciense, with goal of amassing money, lots of it. Their actions are a perpetuation of the status quo, do nothing, stall, and deny. Accountability is lost on them and I think in the oil industry in general. With their product (oil) rising to levels that will soon become unaffordable for most, karma may be catching up with them shortly. Les, I too hope that alternatives to cars come soon, we do it on our terms or it may be thrust upon us whether we like it or not due to decreasing oil supply.


10:00 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Chris,
It's good to know how resilient nature can be. I remember seeing a show on PBS a couple of years ago? which also showed how pristine the area looked almost to a pre-spill time but when they lifted rocks tar and heavy oil was still evident. I think it was hubris and arrogance thinking they would just mow down the claimants with money and lawyers that brought them to the place they are today. Truly unfortunate to have such Molochs as heads of business.

Hi Kim,
The worst part is that they are claiming that the captain was not high enough in their hierarchy to be considered management so they have no responsibility for his actions. Scalia and Thomas are a lost cause but hopefully the rest of the court will see the fallacy of this argument. 19 years is a long time. When we lived in Seattle it was interesting to see how many drunk captains crashed their ships. I think in the 5 years we lived there 2 drunk ferry boat captain rammed their boat into the dock. And I seem to remember some other incident. Just a wee nip to chase the chill away, eh?

Hello Sean (Mad Man),

I feel deflated. To raise a voice against big oil seems so futile. I guess I just don't understand how much money these people need - or is it just about winning? And exactly what are they winning? Seems quite hollow to me. I'll still do my small part in trying to live green - a grain of sand. Thanks for your comment.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Phillip said...

I've been boycotting Exxon for years but for another reason - they are the only major oil company that refuses to grant domestic partner benefits. I always buy Chevron.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Digital Flower Pictures said...

I just wanted to say I didn't think everything was great in the Prince William Sound area. I was just surprised that there wasn't more visible damage.

I am going to join in boycotting Exxon gas.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Phillip,
What can we expect from a bunch of Philistines. "The Philistine not only ignores all conditions of life which are not his own but also demands that the rest of mankind should fashion its mode of existence after his own" Goethe. One who would not take responsibility for the massive destruction of wildlife and the environment they caused wouldn't be enlightened about just social changes either. With all the money they've amassed, they could be a huge force for positive change. Instead they want to remain blind. As the ancient Hawaiians would say "Auwe"!

When first viewing the PBS program everything looked pretty much pristine. Only when they looked more closely did remnants of the spill become evident. I guess all the wildlife have not recovered yet and if I remember correctly there's still a layer of heavy oil and tar at the bottom of the sound. They did a nice job of cosmetic clean up. If you don't see it, it's not there.

Maybe if we all boycott Exxon, we'll amount to a drop in the bucket. That's a start. Thanks for your comments Chris.

7:58 AM  
Blogger kate said...

It is outrageous that Exxon/mobil has not wanted to voluntarily pay for clean-up costs. I have to check this out further. I saw a short clip on tv about it, but there wasn't much information.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

I was taken by surprise too Kate. I thought Exxon had long ago settled the claims.

6:34 PM  
Blogger thepowerguides said...

I just wonder how some of the people in these corporations live with them selves when they away from WORK do they care so little about their fellow man or the earth we share with the animals of this world they have no conscience .

Sometimes I wonder at corporate greed and governments that reward that greed . I am not an environmental activist just an ordinary man but could not live with myself if I made my money on the back of the earth and future generations


9:16 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Well said Steve. It is truly amazing how callous these people can be. Some people have an extraordinary ability to compartmentalize experiences. Many doctors are able to do this and career soldiers who see many horrible things. Apparently many can't compartmentalize as evidenced by so many psychological cases at the VA after 'nam and desert storm. Yet we knew someone who did two combat tours of Vietnam and seemingly was unscathed by the experience. At least outwardly so. So that may explain why these Exxon people seem to have no conscience. They see the bottom line and nothing else. They despoil the earth that sustains them.

5:23 PM  

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