Friday, February 02, 2007

"We're Exxon, we do it right."

Note these headlines from recent days:
Exxon posts world-record earnings
Bush lifts oil and gas drilling ban for Alaska bay
Damage of Exxon Valdez endures
Just days before Exxon announces record profits -- breaking last year's record -- the Bush administration opened up more Alaskan territory to reckless and unrepentant oil companies just like Exxon. Exxon has resisted any and all attempts at recompense for the recovery and clean up of Prince William Sound. And just last month, US Justice was served:
US court cuts Exxon Valdez damages by US$2 billion
Actually, it was $2.85 billion. Bringing the total that Exxon will refuse to pay to under $2 billion. Exxon profited $39.5 billion last year and are still fighting -- with lots of expensive lawyers -- payment of any restitution in the Exxon-Valdez spill in 1989. In 2004, they were still fighting it:
Exxon, whose net income for 2003 is expected to top $21bn, has not paid out a penny of the $5bn (£2.7bn) in damages originally awarded to the fishing communities a decade ago, launching appeal after appeal and deluging the courts with paperwork. ...

The town of Cordova, whose fishermen could once count on earning $100,000 a season, has become an outpost of despair, where debt and destitution have given rise to alcoholism, drug abuse, broken marriages and numerous suicides. About 1,000 of the original 32,000 plaintiffs in the class-action suit against Exxon have died, many of them succumbing to respiratory illnesses, brain tumours and cancers that a growing body of scientific evidence has linked to the spill and the subsequent clean-up.
The rather striking fact here is not the reneging, not the suffering and destitution of the locals -- oil companies cause quite a bit of this -- but that all those billions ago, Exxon was only making $21 billion a year. Weird. That must have been like the Depression.

Let's review what that legacy has left in its vile wake:
Oil from the massive Exxon Valdez spill, which coated 1,200 miles of Alaskan coast when the tanker ran aground in March 1989, continues to threaten the damaged ecosystem there long after experts believed it would dissipate.

When the ship hit Bligh Reef, it released as much as 10.8 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's pristine Prince William Sound and parts of the Gulf of Alaska. The spill was the largest in U.S. history, the Environmental Protection Agency says, and killed an untold number of fish, birds, seals and sea otters. ...

The oil is a continuing, "far-ranging" problem for fish and wildlife, says Kim Trust, science director of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, an Alaska-federal partnership that works to repair the environmental damage. A 2006 council report found that two species — Pacific herring and pigeon guillemots — are not recovering. Populations of clams and mussels are still affected by the lingering oil, as are sea otters and birds such as harlequin ducks and black oystercatchers.
Hence, the above mentioned destitution.

Exxon spokesman to the rescue:
There have been nearly 350 conference presentations or publications in peer-reviewed journals. Based on that body of scientific evidence, it is clear that there have been no effects on the environment that remain ecologically significant.
These publications would be produce by roughly the same body of meager souls who are paid, mostly by Exxon, to "discredit" notions of global warming; whose opinions are bought and paid for by Exxon.

Now, it seems that buying off a bunch of noisy, know-nothing shills wasn't doing the trick. Exxon had to spike their coterie of global warming deniers with some legitimacy. Since Bill Kristol and his "thinktank" were getting severely out-thunk by people who actually think, the next avenue was, of course, the bribe.
Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
To any cynic, the details of the AEI/Exxon collaboration are as nutritious as they are delicious:
The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI's board of trustees.
The title of this post was once an Exxon slogan: "We're Exxon, we do it right." Which makes the tale of Exxon's egregious behaviour regarding its irresponsibility in the Exxon Valdez spill, its callous disregard for those devastated by the disaster, its long campaign of disinformation on global warming and the recent attempted bribe scheme, and the unprecedented wealth it has enjoyed as a direct result of a war-torn Middle East and that condition's attendant oil prices all converge to force one to ask the question: Just what did Exxon mean by "it."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so sad that we are living in another Gilded Age and no one seems to care or even believe it.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to write something more intelligent but I'm sorry, I all I can say is... Fuck Exxon.

12:59 AM  
Blogger theBhc said...

That's perfectly fine.

1:10 AM  

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