Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Case Bound for Supreme Court

Exxon has paid $3.5 billion over years, but claimants want 'closure'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 24, 2008 3:53 PM CST
Fishing boats connected to an oil skimmer by containment booms, patrol the waters off Erlington Island on Prince William Sound, Alaska, in this April 12, 1989 file photo, as workers continue to clean...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Almost two decades after the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil off the Alaskan coast, legal clashes continue—and will reach the Supreme Court this week, the Washington Post reports. At issue is whether Exxon's $3.5 billion payout is enough or should increase to $5 billion, as demanded by an Alaskan jury 14 years ago. For many claimants, though, it’s too late: 20% have died since that verdict.

"I'm a capitalist, I'm a conservative Republican, I am pro-development and pro-industry," said Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin, who has been battling Exxon since 2006. "But consider what Exxon has made in terms of profits in all these years." Exxon says that maritime law absolves the company, and contests claims that the captain was drunk on five double-vodkas when the Valdez hit a reef and spewed oil in 1989.