The list of grievances many Alaskan's have with Exxon over the legacy of the the Prince William Sound oil spill is long and deep. Not only did they despoil a huge swath of pristine coastline, they added insult to injury by repeatedly appealing the 9th Circuit Court ruling against them to pay for their damages. Through countless years, spanning decades in fact, they were able to throw money and lawyers at the problem. Blood money from exorbitant and greedy profits earned, in many ways, by extracting it directly from the wallets of hard working Americans through artificially inflated and market manipulated high oil prices.
So when recent news reached Alaskan's that Sarah Palin had figuratively "climbed in bed" with a corporation many of us see as the enemy by holding closed door meetings with Exxon to push her AGIA agenda forward, we were shocked. Appalled, even. Not only were they responsible for permanently damaging beaches, killing fish and wildlife as well as destroying the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen who depended upon the resource of that particular ecosystem, they successfully whittled down the original settlement to one tenth of it's original size! It went from being one of the largest settlements ever awarded to a state against a corporation for it's wrongdoing down to something that wouldn't even compensate the fishermen for the loss of that single season, let alone a generation or more of fishing seasons. In many areas to this very day, one only need dig down a few inches to reach the oil sludge that remains on beaches from that episode.
Following the Federal Supreme Court ruling that reduced the damages down to less than one tenth of the original award, which had already been pared down twice through appeals to reach a figure of $2.5 billion, Exxon had the audacity to whine about paying less than $500 million claiming that it would hurt the company. To my knowledge they still haven't yet paid out a plug nickel. They grudgingly agreed to release $383 million with no indication when the remaining amount would be paid and that was BEFORE interest charges (see below) were added! A company pulling down profits of double digit billions PER QUARTER. Not gross, not income but profits, people. A half billion barely makes a dent in the mega profits they have made as a corporation since the spill. At the very least they should have had the grace to acknowledge and pay up as an "ooops, we fucked up" tax, then move along AFTER making and implementing policies to insure the possibility of such a thing occurring in the future wouldn't even be an issue. But they didn't. And they haven't.
They whined and cried again in the press that the reduced damages ruling was still unfair. As mentioned above and perhaps as a lesson to Exxon for showing their lack alacrity and grace in meeting their severely reduced adjudicated obligations as badly ruled upon by the supreme court, the 9th Circuit slapped them with close to another $500 million in interest charges as punishment for all their legal foot dragging along the way. The whine turned into a howl. The status of payouts remains in limbo while the court addresses new claims against Exxon and as Exxon continues to resist and push back against the ruling on interest payments.
Which leads us all to the incongruity of this interview by Palin coupled with her decision to tap Exxon as a partner in AGIA which should be enough to make most Alaskan's feel sick to their stomachs. I have an idea that this unitary, closed door decision by her may perhaps one day become her worst legacy as Governor of Alaska. Especially in light of this report of seemingly terroristic behavior on the part of Exxon with some of their Texas prospects. If these reports prove true, their behavior and policies as a corporation show them to be exactly what they may appear to be -- terrorists and thugs, not interested in successfully developing and producing resources for the benefit of all, including themselves, but as yet another greedy resource development corporation, fucking us and the entire planet over in the name of their own bottom line.
Oh and in case you thought things would be better with Sean Parnell (S.P. v. 2.0), you are sadly deluded.
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