Thursday, October 2, 2008

Recent info on Exxon Valdez

Here is a link to a recent article discussing the settlement:

I find it pretty amazing that Exxon was allowed to prolong compensation for such a long time, and pretty disturbing that US and Alaska governments permitted the delay. What does this say about the future? Suppose we were to have another oil spill, or worse a nuclear power accident? Would those affected have to wait 20 years for compensation? This type of red tape and government foot dragging is nothing new. Other environmental examples?

In more recent news, the bailout plan passed by the US Senate just hours ago contained some add-on provisions, including tax breaks for victims of Valdez. Perhaps this was some lawmakers way of making up for the delay and notable underfunding passed in early September.

Here is a quote from the USA Today article:

"The Senate also added a number of unrelated provisions to attract House votes, including a one-year fix to prevent the alternative minimum tax from hitting an estimated 24 million families with a tax increase. Other additions: about $15 billion in tax breaks for alternative energy over 10 years and two-year extensions of other tax breaks, which cost about $42 billion.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the tax provisions would add $107 billion to projected budget deficits over 10 years. That could bring resistance from centrist and conservative Democrats who want the tax provisions to be paid for.

The bill also includes narrowly tailored tax breaks for film production, racetracks, Virgin Islands rum manufacturers and fishermen affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill."

Alternative energy, fishing and rum... sounds like a winner to me.


Lindsay Lamb said...

They have a lot of nerve complaining about the payout. After all of this time they are still getting off easy paying the people affected less than they should. I think giving those affected a tax break is an excellent idea. It doesn't make up for the damages to that area but that and money from Exxon is a good start. Too bad it took almost 20 years.

One example of another slow to payout pollution issue was back in the late 50's, early 60's right here in North Carolina. At Camp Lejeune, a military base, people living there were getting sick and some children died after drinking the polluted water. The water had TCE (trichloroethylene) and PCE (tetrachloroethelene), which are harmful toxins. The military knew that these pollutants were in their water but did nothing about it. They didn't admit that the water pollution had anything to do with the deaths. They didn't do anything to clean the water plants and they just recently started paying those affected; I think in 2007. Though it wasn't nearly enough to compensate those whose family members died.

Christopher Reed said...

This sad environmental injustice is yet another display of the avarice possessed by big oil. Most of us are taught at a very young age to take responsibility for our actions and understand that there are ramifications for committing crimes, even if it's accidental. I found some breath-taking information on Exxon's financial situation, here's the link
Basically, Exxon recorded nearly 12 billion dollars in 4th QUARTER profits alone. 1300 dollars per second in 2007! I believe in capitalism, but I also believe that every business should be mandated to compensate tantamount to any damages inflicted as a byproduct of their business practices. Is this too much to ask? 383 million is a drop in the bucket to these guys and they're complaing. Unbelievable.

Drew Moxon said...

Not to say that their actions are justified (because they're not...stalling through court litigation is just immoral) but the "huge profits" that they are reaping aren't as impressive as they may seem. Up until around 2004(ish) the oil industry historically had one of the lowest returns on capital of any industrial sector. The profits are large as a net number, but as a percentage total investment, the still aren't as high as *many* other industries. Like Lindsay and Christopher both mentioned, they still have enough cash on hand where they should be paying out for damages, but I wouldn't criticize their profit margins.

rachel bisesi said...

Even if the damages and costs were estimated in advance for such a disaster as Exxon Valdez it seems like whomever is at fault would do their best to delay the payments. Looks like Exxon is very good at stalling. There should be something to stop others from doing this in the future because apparently it happens often.

I think the tax break for affected fishermen was smart-

Kaleigh Lovatt said...

Exxon did not provide a sufficient crew on the tanker and therefore are at fault for the spill. If this was to happen again in the future, a company would have no motive to pay. Companies will start to think if Exxon can get away with it, so can I. I agree with rachel in that something needs to be done to prevent companies from stalling it for as long as possible. There should be repercussions if a reasonable deadline is not met.

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