Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Big Payoff

Exxon-Mobil’s political investments these past 18 years paid off in spades today as the Republican-dominated Supreme Court slashed the oil behemoth’s punitive damages from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill by $2 billion.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reduced a $2.5 billion punitive damages award against energy giant Exxon for its role in an infamous 1989 maritime oil spill off the coast of Alaska.
The high court concluded punitive damages should roughly match actual damages from the environmental disaster, which were about $507 million.

Since 1990, Exxon has made nearly $10 million in political contributions with about 86 percent of that going to Republicans.
That means a $10 million investment just got a $2 billion payoff today. That’s a pretty good ROI (return on investment). And that is not counting any of the other benefits that Exxon-Mobil has soaked up these past dozen years of Republican rule with their tax breaks and stratospheric gas prices.

Here is a reminder of what the Exxon Valdez oil spill wrought:

Thousands of animals died immediately; the best estimates include 250,000 to as many as 500,000 seabirds, at least 1,000 sea otters, approximately 12 river otters, 300 harbour seals, 250 bald eagles, and 22 orcas, as well as the destruction of billions of salmon and herring eggs.

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