Vivek Narain on Life

The musings of a man preparing for a mission

Posts Tagged ‘gas’

Exxon Pwns Alaska

Posted by viveknarain on June 26, 2008

On Wednesday the Supreme Court decide to throw out $2.5 Billion in punitive damages that Exxon Mobil Corp was supposed to pay for the 1989 Exxon Valdez Alaskan oil spill. Now, this was the worst oil spill in our country’s history, it ruined over 1,200 miles of Alaskan coastline by spreading 11 million gallons of crude oil across the area, annihilating thousands of marine animals and sea birds while decimating local fishing industries.

So as oil prices climb, an oil company finds yet another way to take money from American people by not even paying for the mess that it caused. Exxon posted a record year of revenue in 2007, making more than it ever had before. In fact, in the first quarter of 2007, it would have taken Exxon only two days to raise the $2.5 billion in revenue needed to pay for the disaster it created.

Exxon Valdez Vivek Narain Oil Spill

If I break my arm while I’m at work, my company has to compensate me heavily, even if it’s not their fault. Do you know why normal companies have to pay for things like workers comp? Because it’s their responsibility. For some reason, it seems that oil companies get to exist outside the rules, outside any sense of responsibility.

Maybe this is because the U.S. government feels if they let big oil exist outside the rules they can perform better and give America better fuel prices. However, I think it’s become clear that helping out the oil companies is not helping out average Americans, because even with record profits, we are still getting screwed at the pump. So maybe, instead of helping out oil companies and hoping that it will trickle down to the common man, we should start holding them responsible for their actions.

Exxon might as well have flown a cargo plane over America dumping oil on school children and throwing tax money into the ocean because they know the government will always be there to bail them out, no matter how much it hurts the country.

The livelihood’s of these Alaskan fisherman were completely ruined by the oil spill, and all they asked for was that the company responsible pay for what they did. What kind of message does this send when the Supreme Court says they don’t have too?

Exxon originally was charged with paying $5 Billion for the spill, which was slashed to $4.5 and then to $2.5 billion. Finally, as our nation struggles with exorbitant gas prices and Alaska still reels from an oil spill that ruined countless communities and anhilated entire ecosystems, the U.S. Supreme Court has told us they are only making Exxon pay $507.5 Million, which when it comes to the billions in revenue that Exxon yields each year, is an amount that is simply, “Lost in rounding.”

Our political system is firmly entrenched in the pockets of big oil, and I have no idea how we will ever get it out. This is just the latest case in a long history of average American lives being dumped on by a government that’s more sympathetic to big oil than to its own populace.


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