Monday, October 5, 2009

Still Addicted To Oil?

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. The devastation from this tragedy is still being felt today. The herring population that supports the fishery food chain in the region has never recovered. A jury awarded spill victims $5 billion (equal to one year of Exxon's average profits after the spill). Exxon fought this award for nearly 2 decades, until the Supreme Court last year slashed the award to just $507 million. Even worse, the Supreme Court set a dangerous precedent by ruling to limit the size of punitive damages in maritime cases to no more than compensatory damages. This decision removes the people's ability to adequately fight a multinational corporation. Get the whole story in the new book and film.

Black Wave - The legacy of the Exxon Valdez (Teaser EN) from Macumba Docs on Vimeo.

Despite this bleak legacy, California continues to flirt with the idea of ending the 15 year moratorium on new off-shore oil drilling. Claiming this is needed to raise revenue for the state, drilling proponents fail to recognize that simply enacting a severance tax on existing production would generate more than three times the revenue expected from the proposed new drilling. Did I mention Exxon Mobil posted record profits again last year, over $45 billion, making it the most profitable corporation in world history.

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