Exxon Still Ignores Problems Created By Valdez Oil Spill

One of the most profitable companies in the world, ExxonMobil, still does not take responsibility for the damage caused by their oil tanker spill. Here’s a resident expert describing their ongoing denial of the impact of their mistakes.

Source: Author and oil-spill expert Riki Ott answers questions | Grist Magazine | InterActivist | 14 Mar 2005.

Not just because of the oil spill, but primarily because of its corporate actions after the spill. For example, dividing communities and families with its money spill (the so-called "cleanup") to silence the voices of the ones most affected. Cleanup contracts contained a clause stating there would be no communication with press.

Exxon forged ahead with pressurized hot water wash on beaches despite evidence from its own scientists and NOAA scientists that the cleanup was doing more harm than good.

Exxon didn’t warn cleanup workers that the symptoms of chemical poisoning from inhalation of oil vapors, mists, and aerosols mimic cold and flu-like symptoms. It didn’t report 6,722 respiratory distress claims to Occupational and Safety Health Administration officials. It paid workers to sign a waiver releasing Exxon from any and all health claims from cleanup operations. It discontinued manufacturing a cleanup product, Inipol, which contains an OSHA Human Health Hazard, 2-butoxyethanol, with no notice to its former workers of potential health problems.

Exxon denies global climate change and publicly fights to downplay this phenomenon. I consider global warming to be the greatest threat facing civilization today. Exxon aggressively demands rights to drill the planet for fossil fuels as our future energy path.

Exxon has yet to order double-hull tankers for service in Prince William Sound, despite a mandate in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Most other oil companies have ordered double-hull tankers without dire consequences to their bottom line.

Exxon endlessly appeals the $5 billion punitive damage award in The Exxon Valdez Case, while at the same time funding university professors to write scholarly treatises arguing that punitive damages should be capped — papers that Exxon then uses in court to try to knock down the award to $25 million. Exxon has not been forthright with taxpayers and the press. They should confess that while the Exxon Valdez cleanup may have cost the company $2.2 billion, at least half of that (and probably more) was recouped through taxes as a cost of doing business. It hides behind a shield of lawyers, financial wealth, and taxpayer dollars to fight its public-health and environmental indiscretions.