Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pay Respect, Exxon

I did not know the ship formerly known as the Exxon Valdez continued to sail after the ship spilled 10.8 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William sound.

Honestly, I'm in shock.

The Exxon Valdez

During the next three weeks, the Supreme Court is expected to render its final decision on whether Exxon will pay $2.5 billion in punitive fines over the spill.

Exxon made $40.6 billion dollars last year.

It cost $30 million dollars to repair the broken hull of the Valdez, before it was deemed seaworthy and renamed the Mediterranean . According to the KTUU news in Alaska, the tanker was still sailing in 2007.


adj. wor·thi·er, wor·thi·est
1. Having worth, merit, or value; useful or valuable.
2. Honorable; admirable: a worthy fellow.
3. Having sufficient worth; deserving: worthy to be revered; worthy of acclaim.
n. pl. wor·thies

(Free Dictionary.com)

Again, I don't condone Wikipedia -- but they sure do have a lot of dubious information clear and accessible... According to that questionable source:

In 2005 the average age of a tanker was 10 years.

(The Valdez launched in 1986, making the vessel 22 years old this year.)

In 2005, according to the same entry, the price of a new tanker ranged from $43 million to $120 million. (One would imagine this price tag was lower in 1989.)

Buy a new boat, guys! This one ought to (have been) retired!

Not only was it not retired, 13 years after the spill, the New York Times reported that, while laws prohibiting any tanker that had spilled more than a million gallons of oil from entering Prince William Sound, the Exxon subsidiary then operating the Mediterranean was considering appealing the decision to keep the tanker from entering that port.


Now, it seems to me that a lot of this conversation is about arrogance -- arrogance, entitlement -- and the actions that turn those qualities into cruelty.

It's a little understandable, I suppose, why Exxon would fight this tiny judgement all the way to the supreme court -- because there are a million such law suits -- because you can't back down...

But wouldn't they have done Alaska, themselves -- and people at large -- a better service to make some sort of show of good faith? Turn the ship into a museum 18 years ago? Empty it out, and make some sort of commemorative thing out of it?

Do you really have to accept blame to accept apology? Exxon is the most profitable corporation in the world. They are not worthy.

The Valdez spill was a tragedy. The loss of wild life remains staggering, and for the people who lived and live there a whole way of life died.

Exxon has failed to pay its respects.

No comments: