The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill:
22 Years Ago

May 2, 2011

On March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon-Valdez spilled more than 260,000 barrels of crude oil after it was grounded on a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. This was the worst oil spill in the U.S. history before the 2010 BP destruction of the Gulf of Mexico.

According to a Federal government report in 2010, spilled oil is still in Alaska’s sand and soil. A study carried out in 2003 predicted that it will take up to 30 years for natural resources to recover.

As for the victims of this spill, they were stalled in the court system by Exxon for decades before they got paid. In 1994, a jury ordered Exxon to compensate 38,000 spill victims for damages. But Exxon appealed this decision in one court after the other. In 2008, when Exxon finally agreed to pay, the payment was only 7.5% of the original decision: around $30,000 per victim before the expenses, not enough money to recover their lost income back.

Big oil knows it can damage the environment with impunity and harm people. They bank on acquiescence from the government to pump up their profits.