"We Promise."

"We promise." These were the words uttered by the lairs from Humble Oil and ARCO (now known as Exxon and British Petroleum) to the Chugach Natives, owners of Valdez Port. In 1969 the Native Americans sold their valuable land to the oil companies for $1 and a promise that the companies would protect their sacred land.

On March 24, 1989, after years of cost cutting and down-right corrupt practices the most devastating man-made environmental disasters ever to occur at sea occurred. The Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground at Prince William Sounds and spilled 10.8 million gallons of crude oil into the sea, the oil eventually covered 11,000 square miles of ocean. The area was a habitat for seals, salmon, seabirds and sea otters.

This past Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-3 ruling that the fine of 5 billion dollars levied against the oil company Exxon for punitive damages would be reduced to $507.5 million. That translates to an average of only $15,000 per victim. These victims whose lives were turned upside down looked to our justice system and were turned away. After nearly 20 years of legal fighting the oil company walks away with a slap on the wrist.

In a report by Greg Palast of the Chicago Tribune, before charges were brought, the Natives hoped to settle with the oil company, to receive just enough compensation to buy some boats and rebuild their island villages to withstand what would be a decade of trying to survive in a polluted ecological death zone. Mr. Otto Harrison who worked for Exxon said, "Admit it; the oil spill's the best thing to happen" to the Natives.

His company offered the Natives pennies on the dollar. The oil men added a cruel threat: take it or wait twenty years to get even the pennies. Exxon is immortal - but Natives die. They turned out to be right. Twenty years later after a third of the Native fishermen and seal hunters have died. Now their families will collect one tenth of their award, two decades too late.

Why am I covering this topic on my blog? Because it is important to understand that this presidential election will decide what direction this Country will take for decades.

It was Justice David Souter who wrote the decision for the Supreme Court that let Exxon get away with this crime against the Natives and against their lands. Justice Souter was nominated by George Walker Bush. The next president will very likely have say on the appointment of several Justices.

We need oil companies, we need refineries, but they must be kept in check. As this Nation struggles with its dependence on oil we the consumers need to know that the man sitting in the White House will work for us. In my opinion that man is Senator Obama.

5 comments:

Merle Savage said...

Are these the Actions of Our US Lady Justice?

Tipping Scales?
Peeking for Corporate Interest?
Accepting Bribes?
Knee Deep in Exxon Oil?
Allowing Human Life as Exxon's Collateral Damage?

To view Lady Justice:
http://www.silenceinthesound.com/valdez-oil-spill-workers-vs-exxon.shtml

An investigative study needs to be conducted into the thousands of Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS) workers' health issues, and acknowledged as Exxon's negligence; not left as Exxon's Collateral Damage.

This letter is released in the hope of informing the media, public and anyone who is concerned about human interest stories relating to the present oil and gas issues. Exxon has been fighting an Alaska jury's verdict for 14 years, contending that the $3.5 billion it already has spent following the worst oil spill in U.S. history is enough. The Alaska jury initially awarded $5 billion to 33,000 commercial fishermen, Native Alaskans, landowners, businesses and local governments.

After 19 years, and only four months of deliberating, on July 25, 2008 the US Supreme Court Justices announced their decision. They cut the punitive damages yet again. When that amount is divided by Alaska's plaintiff's lives that were destroyed by the oil spill; is $15,000 the Supreme Court's price of life? Exxon has still not accepted full responsibility for the tragic EVOS alleged cleanup of 1989. Yet, Exxon continues to boast of profits each year and along with other oil companies raise prices at the gasoline pumps.

Here is the rest of the story: In 1989 while media and public attention focused on the thousands of oil-coated and dead seabirds, otters, and other wildlife, little attention was given to the harm done to the cleanup workers.
As workers blasted oiled beaches with hot seawater from high pressure hoses, they were engulfed in toxic fumes containing aerosolized crude oil—benzene and other volatile compounds, oil mist, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. View photos at: www.silenceinthesound.com/gallery.shtml

It is a major concern that the cleanup workers from the 1989 EVOS are suffering from long-term health problems resulting from toxic chemical exposures. A significant number of the workers have died. Some of the illnesses include neurological impairment, chronic respiratory disease, leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, liver damage, and blood diseases. View stories at: www.silenceinthesound.com/stories.shtml

Dr. Riki Ott has written two books; Sound Truth & Corporate Myth$ and Not One Drop. www.soundtruth.info
Dr. Riki Ott has investigated, studied the oil spill spraying, and quotes numerous reports on the toxic chemicals used during the 1989 Prince William Sound oily beach cleanup in her books.
For more information or to issue a letter of concern to originations about these issues, please contact:
Riki Ott, PhD, phone: 907-424-3915; email: info@soundtruth.info
Pamela Miller, phone 907-222-7714; email: pkmiller@akaction.net
View the letter at: http://www.usmwf.org/bills/Alaskarequest%20.pdf

Submitted by: Merle (Bailey) Savage, General Foreman during the (EVOS) cleanup attempt of 1989. Phone:702-367-2224; www.silenceinthesound.com email: msavage12@cox.net

BP said...

Dear God this makes me so angry!!!

They stole this land from these people, ruined their lives and then laugh in their faces. And what does our government do? Side with these criminals. You're right Obama for President!

GOD I AM SO ANGRY!

Anonymous said...

Companies own our government. I saw on tv where gov't officials who leave the Pentagon move right over to the companies that the tax payers paid them to watch.

They call it the revolving door.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it how could they sell their land for $1? This whole things smells fishy. These people need help.

Anonymous said...

I have not bought gas from Exxon since the spill and never will.