And so it continues. Much to the dismay of thousands of Alaskans, Exxon Mobil has won the right to appeal against a $2.5bn damages bill relating to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
The US Supreme Court said it would hear the appeal against record damages due to victims of the Valdez oil spill. The case has dragged on since 1994 with the US oil giant fighting to reduce the bill, which it has called excessive.
Exxon argues that it cannot be held responsible for the actions of the captain, Joseph Hazelwood and says that the $2.5bn penalty is excessive under marine law and when compared with other federal rulings on punitive damages.
But lawyers for the victims dispute the charge that the award is too high and argue that the damages represent “barely more than three weeks of Exxon’s net profit”.
The appeal will go before the Supreme Court in February or March 2008, with a ruling expected by the end of June.
The ugly truth for Exxon is that it would prefer to pay some top-flight lawyer who already has more than enough money than do the honourable thing and pay the victims of its own pollution, many who desperately need compensation. That’s the politics of big oil and its stinks.