Exxon Valdez - Legacy of a Spill

May 13, 1999

Legacy of a Spill: Stories | Illustrations | Photos

Demonstrators nationwide take Exxon to task

The Associated Press

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The 10th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill was marked across the nation Wednesday by protests, some noisy and some understated, but all trying to highlight what they see as Exxon's sins.

In the San Francisco area, three Greenpeace members were arrested Wednesday morning for trespassing on a ship on Chevron Corp. property.

Allwyn Brown, a spokesman for the Richmond, Calif., Police Department, said officers arrested Brian McCarthy, 30, of Richmond; Mike Sowle, 39, of Berkeley; and William Hebert of Marina Del Rey.

Brown said 15 Greenpeace members climbed up the side of the Marine Columbia, a ship moored at Long Wharf, on Chevron property. They hung a protest banner.

In New York, environmentalists said Exxon's appeal of the $5 billion judgment and its "arrogance" in dealing with the Exxon Valdez disaster should be grounds for barring its proposed merger with Mobil Corp.

Speakers at a news conference marking the spill anniversary also accused the federal government of failing to enforce legal provisions for double-hull tankers, escort tugs and other safety measures in ocean-going oil tankers.

All are required by the Oil Protection Act, passed in 1990 after the spill.

"There will be other Exxon Valdez-type spills unless these lessons are learned," said Sarah Chasis, a National Resources Defense Council expert on coastal waters. "Painfully little has been done in the past 10 years by the federal government."

Exxon responded to the New York news conference with a statement it had paid $300 million in voluntary compensation to victims of the spill and was exercising a "fundamental right" of Americans in appealing the $5 billion in punitive damages, which it considers "unjust and excessive."

"The Exxon-Mobil merger is a completely separate and totally unrelated item," it said.

Legacy of a Spill: Stories | Illustrations | Photos

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