Exxon


".. the Exxon Valdez.. the oil spill was no accident: Before the tanker's grounding, Exxon shut off the ship's radar to save money and a British Petroleum affiliate had faked the safety equipment reports" (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 6).

Exxon Valdez

"On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez broke open and covered twelve hundred miles of Alaska's shoreline with oily sludge.

"The official story remains "Drunken Skipper Hits Reef." Don't believe it.

"Captain Joe Hazelwood was nowhere near the wheel, but belowdecks, sleeping off his bender. The man left at the helm, the third mate, would never have hit Bligh Reef had he simply looked at his Raycas radar. The complex Raycas system costs a lot to operate, so frugal Exxon management left it broken and useless for the entire year before the grounding..." (263).

"...if a ship does smack a reef, all that's needed is to surround the ship with a big rubber curtain ("boom") and suck up the corralled oil. In signed letters to the state government and Coast Guard, BP, ExxonMobil and partners promised that no oil would move unless the equipment was set on the tanker route and the oil-sucker ship ("containment barge") was close by...

"The oil majors fulfilled their promise the cheapest way: They lied. When the Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef, the spill equipment, which could have prevented the catastrophe, wasn't there... And.. the emergency spill-response barge was sitting in a dry dock.." (265).

"Everyone's heard of the big jury verdict against Exxon: a $5 billion award. What you haven't heard is that ExxonMobil hasn't paid a dime of it... It's the number-two lifetime donor to George W. Bush's career (after Enron)" (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 266).


Colby Glass, MLIS