Regulation vs Tort Law, Chapter 75

Despite claims to the contrary, oil corporations don’t focus on spill prevention. In addition, they don’t invest adequately in their response technology or comprehensively plan for a potential major disaster. Nor do they consider victims of their accidents a high priority. The Exxon Valdez spill of 1990 led to litigation by numerous citizens’ groups, including fishermen, tour guides, and First Nations peoples. Although the courts awarded these groups money, Exxon appealed almost every decision, in many cases dragging cases through the courts for an additional 10 to 15 years. Exxon lost every case it appealed. During the almost two decades of stalling, the oil company continued to earn record profits. The case seems to support calls for bolstering the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

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