Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Exxon Ordered to Pay Up

The Ninth Circuit ordered Exxon to pay the $507.5 million it owes to Alaskans for the Exxon Valdez spill.

The ruling by the ninth US Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California was consistent with the figure suggested by the Supreme Court last year. It also awarded plaintiffs 5.9 percent interest starting from the date of the original trial judgment in September 1996.

The cumulative amount of the interest payments could nearly double the 507.5-million-dollar fine.

But the figure is still a small fraction of the five billion dollars in damages Alaska natives, fishermen, business owners and others had originally been awarded by a jury in 1996. That amount was later reduced following appeals by Exxon, which is based in Irving, Texas.
Here it is more than 20 years after the disaster, and Exxon still has not paid restitution for the economic harm caused by the spill. I hope that this decision finally brings the case to a close.