A Matter Of Opinion

Exxon-Valdez: 19 years later

The Supreme Court just drastically cut the punitive damages for the 1989 Exxon-Valdez disaster off the Alaska coast. Story here.

I don't imagine this ruling will be popular with the people, many of whom are already angry at oil companies for the exponential growth in gas prices.

Says Sen. Patty Murray, "Nearly 20 years later, the Northwest's fisheries and environment are still affected by Exxon's negligence, and years of legal wrangling shouldn't allow them to fall short of their responsibility to make amends."

As the name implies, punitive damages aren't so much about amends as punishment. They've paid $500 million in economic losses to the victims. Though the court has not set an amount Exxon will probably still pay as much again in punitive damages.

Do you think Exxon has been sufficiently punished for its culpability in this horrific oil spill?

(AP file photo of tugboats pulling the Exxon-Valdez after the 1989 disaster)

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