Thursday, May 06, 2010

Pass me a mop. Someone spilt oil

I could not understand what the British Petroleum spokesperson said. It is our oil, our responsibility and we were not drilling and then he said it was a contractor who was responsible. Firstly I think it may be America's oil, not BPs. But is this an example of issue confusing?

So what happens to a company when it is responsible for an appalling environmental disaster? Often nothing. But let us take a look at one very bad disaster for the environment, also involving large quantities of oil being spilt. Who could could forget the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989? I understand the some effects of the spill from the ship are still present.

A jury awarded $287 million for actual damages and $5 billion in punitive damages. The company appealed, appealed and appealed again and the figure was reduced to around $500 million, below the amount that had already been paid out and so effectively, $5 billion in punitive damages was reduced to $0. That is my reading of it anyway.

Wildlife toll stats?

Up to 250,000 seabirds
2,800 sea otters
12 river otters
300 seals
247 bald eagles
22 orcas.
billions of salmon and herring eggs

Widespread reductions in many animal populations due to the ingestion of contaminated soil.


  1. It is sickening to watch this kind of environmental accident happening again and again. I agree. If these companies had to pay massive damages for their mess (truly reflective of the damage, not just token), things would improve dramatically. Maybe they would also find it more interesting to invest in the research and production of sustainable alternatives instead. Found an interesting article here Making a solar cell component without fossil fuels

  2. The oil from the Exxon Valdez is still there but underneath the top layer of beach. It can't be cleaned any further so it just keeps sinking deeper.
    Now we have our own disaster on The Great Barrier Reef which seems to have been pushed off the news by the BP wreck.

  3. LiD, from cars to light bulbs to whatever. Sometimes the cure can be worse than the disease, as your example shows. But like the non fossil fuel solar cells, we are smart enough to overcome such obstacles.

    Jahteh, what about the one of WA too? There was a huge amount of oil lost.