Exxon Ruling Enrages Alaskan Fishermen

Shrunken payout will mean more years of tough work for many
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2008 4:16 PM CDT
In this April 1, 1989, file photo, a float plane waits to taxi from an oil-covered beach in Prince William Sound, an inlet off the Gulf of Alaska.    (AP Photo/Jack Smith, File)
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(Newser) – Today's Supreme Court decision to drastically shrink the punitive damages that Exxon must pay Alaskan fishermen over the Valdez spill has left plaintiffs enraged, cynical, and forced to rethink retirement in some cases, the Anchorage Daily News reports. "This is a total slap in the face," said one of his payout. "This won't even pay off a credit card."

Commercial fishermen with the biggest shares could receive up to $100,000 apiece, but that's before lawyer fees and a far cry from the life-changing amounts that the original $5 billion award would have brought. "It kind of sends the message that big corporations that have the right money and political power can throw safety and responsibility to the wind," said a fisherman. "I mean, $500 million for Exxon? That's not even a blip on their radar."