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Digging into the Exxon Valdez case

June 30, 2008

Re "Justices slash Exxon Valdez verdict," June 26

Although the pathetic decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Exxon Valdez case will confirm for many that the system works for the establishment and punishes the innocent, perhaps there is a potentially good outcome. That is the point it makes for not adding one square foot of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge or any other potential "baronetcy" for oil exploration.

Like all good con artists, the oil companies promise anything to get the rights to drill at the beginning, but once the exploration area is exhausted, the residents of the areas are left to clean up the mess.

If anyone needs evidence of what oil industry exploration leaves behind, they may detour off Interstate 5 and tour the west side of the southern San Joaquin Valley, where oil was first discovered in the late 19th century. My grandfather, who came to the region in 1904, recalled endless fields of native grasses. There is enough oil "junk" scattered from Maricopa to Avenal to begin a serious side industry in reclaiming it.

As for Exxon Valdez, somewhere, the ghost of former Chief Executive Lawrence Rawls is chuckling.

Michael Furtney

Los Angeles

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Let us hope that God is a puffin.

Patricia Baird

Long Beach

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