Last Tuesday marked the twenty-year anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil disaster that polluted 2000km (1200 miles) of Alaskan coastline.
Most people assume that Exxon followed through with the many promises to clean it up and pay out proper restitution to those who were damaged by the accident. Investigative reporter Greg Palast says those assumptions are wrong.
Twenty years later, the oil is still lingering in the environment, Exxon has whittled down its court ordered fees by billions, it’s rigged the system to actually collect some of that money back, and to top it all off, many rightful claimants are dead.
Two years after the spill, Otto Harrison, General Manager of Exxon USA, told Evanoff and me to forget about a fishing boat for Uncle Paul. Exxon was immortal and Natives were not. The company would litigate for 20 years.
They did. Only now, two decades on, Exxon has finally begun its payout of the court award — but only ten cents on the dollar. And Uncle Paul’s boat? No matter. Paul’s dead. So are a third of the fishermen owed the money.