About thirty years ago, the Exxon Valdez oil spill of roughly 11 million gallons of crude occurred in Alaska’s Prince William Sound (West, 2017). Despite clean up efforts to lessen short term effects and avert severe long term impacts, the Exxon Valdez oil spill caused irreversible damage economically, environmentally, and socially.
Damage Of Oil Spill
After the damage of the oil spill was assessed, statistics were brought into light as to how much money was lost and how much payment was in store to those affected. To settle the lawsuit the state of Alaska filed against Exxon and the violation of the Clean Water Act, “Exxon paid $1 billion in settlements to the state and federal governments,” (Shins, 2017). Although the government settlement amounts were concrete and paid, the locals affected by the spill were not as easily compensated. When the incident initially happened, fisherman, landowners, and native Alaskans also filed a lawsuit for $5 billion, but “in 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court reduced it to $507.5 million,” (Shins, 2017). After 20 years of waiting, those personally affected by the oil spill were given a settlement; however the end result was clearly not equivalent to the original asking price. A young Alaskan fisherman named Mike Webber was given $180,000 instead of the $2.5 million he may have been given under the original decision (Murphy, 2008). Because the oil spill prevented Webber and other fishermen from continuing their method of income, the settlement intended to equate what they would have earned in the 20 years if the oil spill did not happen. Webber explains that, “even if we got the full $5 billion, we still wouldn’t come close to what we would have made in 20 years of fishing,” (Murphy, 2008). Even with Exxon having to pay out settlements, the damage is done and can still be visibly seen in Alaska.
IMPACTS OF THE EXXON VALDEZ OIL SPILL
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