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.
November 3, 2007 |
It's a long way to certiorari It's a long way to go It's a long way to certiorari And the highest court I know. These are the words, as best I recall them, of one of our class songs at Harvard Law School, many decades ago. Golden oldie it isn't, though it does help explain why, at an even earlier date, Cole Porter left the place so hurriedly after enrollment. Let the ditty introduce the layman to the curious word certiorari.
November 2, 2007
Re "Exxon Valdez litigation still afloat," Oct. 30 I am sickened by the fact that Exxon Mobil Corp. is trying to get out of paying what it owes to the people of Alaska. I will boycott Exxon and tell all I know to do the same. What is wrong with Exxon? It contaminated 1,200 miles of Alaska shoreline and now balks at paying what is owed to local fishermen, not to mention the crime of employing a tanker captain who had been drinking heavily and who allowed his third mate to take charge of the ship.
October 30, 2007 |
After the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground in 1989, experts predicted it would take years to clean up the worst oil spill in U.S. history and restore the pristine waters of Alaska's Prince William Sound. It has turned out that cleaning up the massive litigation in its wake has taken even longer. To the surprise and dismay of some weary plaintiffs' lawyers, the Supreme Court announced Monday that it would reconsider whether Exxon Mobil Corp. can be forced to pay a record $2.