This will be worth watching long term.
For a primer on how responsible Big Oil was after the Exxon Valdez, watch this morning's first segment of Democracy Now!
The segment features Riki Ott, a marine toxicologist and a former salmon fisherm'am in Alaska, who experienced the Exxon Valdez spill first hand -- the extended twenty year version -- and offers an in-depth study of the devastating results of that catastrophe at all levels. She has a book: Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.
Ironically, (from a customer review at the above link for her book)
as the Exxon Valdez set sail with a full load of crude on the evening of March 23, 1989, Riki Ott was addressing a group of Valdez residents on what would happen should a major spill ever occur. As a matter of fact, Riki put it this way to her audience "Gentlemen, it's not if, it's when."
Same can be said of drilling for oil under water.
The book tells much about the last twenty years, and Riki is headed for the Gulf to help people with what she's learned. One of the things she's learned is the following, where, like now, BP promises to pay and is already starting the same types of "outreach" patterns as Exxon's:
In the immediate aftermath, Exxon promised the people of Cordova that they would be made whole. They lied. No one in Cordova could possibly have been prepared for the epic battle for justice that would occur over the next 20 years. Riki Ott was on the scene every step of the way and reports on the tactics employed by the oil companies, state and federal government, the courts and of course the victims. It quickly becomes apparent whose side most of our esteemed government officials are on. Riki Ott also spends a considerable amount of time driving home the point that the oil spill science funded by the oil companies is largely junk science and is not to be trusted. Perhaps one of the most salient points made in "Not One Drop" is that evidence amassed by trauma experts clearly indicates that disasters caused by so-called "acts of God" such as earthquakes, floods and tornadoes affect people much differently in the long run than such man-made disasters as dam failures, oil spills and nuclear accidents. My reading over the years would tend to confirm this. As Riki points out "natural disasters brought people together in crisis, while man-made disasters tore communities apart." Now nearly two decades later the people of Cordova struggle mightily to put their lives and their community back together again.
Beware the out stretched hands of those "responsible" corporations...
Yes, after a lower court awarded punitive damages of $2.5 billion, our conservative, corporate-friendly Supreme Court awarded the people a reduction to $500 million. This finally occurs nearly twenty years after the incident. Let's see, if the pattern holds, the people of the Gulf States can look forward to about a 7% compensation of their losses some time around 2029, as Riki points out:
As we know in Exxon Valdez, that our case got knocked way back down and people recovered about seven to ten percent of what they actually lost.
She also notes that many networks of related businesses, and others, got nothing at all.
For starters, they’re will only going to protect directly damaged parties. So fisherman, I’m sorry, but in our community, as I’m sure down in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast, the fisherman buy groceries, good restaurants, put children in school, by clothes. If the fishermen don’t have money, where- it damages all the shoreside industry as well. So, there’s collateral damage to businesses that won’t necessarily be compensated under the law.
And who compensated the environment? -- which still hasn't completely recovered.