June 3, 2010 |
The small boat approached four pelicans perched on a rusty platform emerging from the flat green waters of the Gulf of Mexico on this steaming hot and windless day. They peered down their long beaks at the vessel. Then, as if teasing the humans spying on them through binoculars, two of the birds spread their wings and soared away just as the boat drew near. But two remained behind, and they were the ones wildlife biologist Haven Barnhill eyed with concern. Earlier that morning, with the nation's worst-ever oil spill gushing uncontained for the sixth week, Barnhill had found a dead pelican in these waters, its feathers slick with oil, its life lost to a slow creep of poison.
May 28, 2010 |
As BP continued its effort to gain control of its untamed deep-sea well, President Obama announced more restrictions on offshore oil drilling Thursday and insisted his administration is firmly in charge of the response to the spill, now believed to be the largest in U.S. history. Batting away suggestions that the federal response has been lackluster and that BP executives have been calling some of the shots, Obama insisted that "BP is operating at our direction." "Every key decision and action they take must be approved by us in advance," Obama said.
May 6, 2010 |
BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward is promising to shoulder all cleanup costs and pay all legitimate claims from the deadly Gulf Coast oil rig accident — but for those hit hard by the spill the relief could come too late to help them recover. It took nearly 20 years for more than 30,000 Alaskan fishing boat operators, property owners and others to be paid damages after the Exxon Valdez tanker accident in 1989, legal experts note. A jury awarded victims $5 billion in punitive damages in 1994, but Exxon appealed.
May 4, 2010 |
Each news update from the BP oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico tightens a hard knot in my stomach. Alaskans who lived through the Exxon Valdez oil spill feel dark memories resurfacing. We talk about our sadness for the people in the way, people who don't know what's about to hit them. "They still seem to think they'll be able to contain this and stop it, and they just can't," said Rick Steiner, a former University of Alaska fisheries extension agent whose life was irrevocably upset by the Exxon Valdez, which spilled at least 11 million gallons of oil in Prince William Sound 21 years ago. "Not much oil is going to be recovered; they're not going to save much wildlife; they're not going to be able to restore damaged ecosystems."
April 29, 2010 |
A flotilla of vessels attacked a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday with skimmers, booms and chemicals, hoping to lessen the ecological impact when the slick makes landfall in Louisiana. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency after it became apparent that the scope of the disaster was far greater than it had appeared earlier, threatening the natural resources and economy of his state. President Obama pledged to deploy "every single available resource at our disposal, including potentially the Department of Defense."
December 6, 2008 |
A little less than 20 years ago, Mike Webber was king of his own watery world. He was 28 years old, with three herring fishing boats. He leased another long-line boat for halibut, and gill-netted the fat salmon that made Prince William Sound one of the most legendary fisheries in the world. Then came the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Overnight, it was all gone: Fish prices plummeted. People started selling their fishing permits to pay their mortgages, and then lost their houses anyway.
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.
June 26, 2008 |
The Supreme Court on Wednesday brought to a close the 19-year legal battle over the Exxon Valdez oil spill by sharply reducing the punitive damages to be paid by Exxon Mobil Corp. The court ruled that the oil giant must pay $507 million -- about one-tenth of the original jury award -- to punish it for recklessly putting a known alcoholic in charge of a supertanker traveling a treacherous channel. The justices described Exxon's conduct as "worse than negligent but less than malicious." Capt.
June 1, 2008 |
Heading into the final month of its term, the Supreme Court faces decisions in 29 pending appeals, including these major cases: Gun rights: Does the 2nd Amendment protect an individual's right to have a gun? The court will rule on a security guard's challenge to an unusual law in the District of Columbia that prohibits the private possession of handguns but not rifles or shotguns. (District of Columbia vs. Heller) Guantanamo: Do the foreign prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have a right to challenge their detention in court?
February 27, 2008 |
By way of telling his story, and the story of this fishing village, Mike Maxwell -- born, raised and hoping to die here -- wants to talk about what happened to the herring. They were the little kings of the sea in these parts. They ran so thick in Prince William Sound that some days, it was said, you could walk on the water stepping on their silvery-blue backs.