Thursday, April 7, 2011
I along with BC First Nations will Lay down my Life to Stop Enbridge, $%?$ BIG OIL!
But before I fill you in let me remind you of the past....This post will have lots of cut n paste, bear with me and please read the details...
Remember the Exxon Valdez oil disaster, to this day Exxon Mobile has never paid its fines levied against them...
A short bit of Exxon Mobile history
The Exxon Valdez: 1989-98
In 1989 Exxon was no longer the world's largest company, and soon it would not even be the largest oil group (Royal Dutch/Shell would take over that position in 1990), but with the help of the March 24, 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster the company heightened its notoriety. The crash of the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound off the port of Valdez, Alaska, released about 260,000 barrels, or 11.2 million gallons, of crude oil. The disaster cost Exxon $1.7 billion in 1989 alone, and the company and its subsidiaries were faced with more than 170 civil and criminal lawsuits brought by state and federal governments and individuals.
By late 1991 Exxon had paid $2.2 billion to clean up Prince William Sound and had reached a tentative settlement of civil and criminal charges that levied a $125 million criminal fine against the oil conglomerate. Fully $100 million of the fine was forgiven and the remaining amount was split between the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund (which received $12 million) and the U.S. Treasury (which received $13 million). Exxon and a subsidiary, Exxon Shipping Co., also were required to pay an additional $1 billion to restore the spill area.
Although the Valdez disaster was a costly public relations nightmare--a nightmare made worse by the company's slow response to the disaster and by CEO Lawrence G. Rawl's failure to visit the site in person--Exxon's financial performance actually improved in the opening years of the last decade in the 20th century. The company enjoyed record profits in 1991, netting $5.6 billion and earning a special place in the Fortune 500. Of the annual list's top ten companies, Exxon was the only one to post a profit increase over 1990. Business Week's ranking of companies according to market value also found Exxon at the top of the list.
The company's performance was especially dramatic when compared with the rest of the fuel industry: As a group the 44 fuel companies covered by Business Week's survey lost $35 billion in value, or 11 percent, in 1991. That year, Exxon also scrambled to the top of the profits heap, according to Forbes magazine. With a profit increase of 12 percent over 1990, Exxon's $5.6 billion in net income enabled the company to unseat IBM as the United States' most profitable company. At 16.5 percent, Exxon's return on equity was also higher than any other oil company. The company also significantly boosted the value of its stock through its long-term and massive stock buyback program, through which it spent about $15.5 billion to repurchase 518 million shares--or 30 percent of its outstanding shares--between 1983 and 1991.
Like many of its competitors, Exxon was forced to trim expenses to maintain such outstanding profitability. One of the favorite methods was to cut jobs. Citing the globally depressed economy and the need to streamline operations, Exxon eliminated 5,000 employees from its payrolls between 1990 and 1992. With oil prices in a decade-long slide, Exxon also cut spending on exploration from $1.7 billion in 1985 to $900 million in 1992. The company's exploration budget constituted less than 1 percent of revenues and played a large part in Exxon's good financial performance. Meantime, Exxon in 1990 abandoned its fancy headquarters at Rockefeller Center in New York City to reestablish its base in the heart of oil territory, in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas. In 1991 the company established a new Houston-based division, Exxon Exploration Company, to handle the company's exploration operations everywhere in the world except for Canada.
At the end of 1993 Lee R. Raymond took over as CEO from the retiring Rawl. Raymond continued Exxon's focus on cost-cutting, with the workforce falling to 79,000 employees by 1996, the lowest level since the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911. Other savings were wrung out by reengineering production, transportation, and marketing processes. Over a five-year period ending in 1996, Exxon had managed to reduce its operating costs by $1.3 billion annually. The result was increasing levels of profits. In 1996 the company reported net income of $7.51 billion, more than any other company on the Fortune 500. The following year it made $8.46 billion on revenues of $120.28 billion, a 7 percent profit margin. The huge profits enabled Exxon in the middle to late 1990s to take some gambles, and it risked tens of billion of dollars on massive new oil and gas fields in Russia, Indonesia, and Africa. In addition, Exxon and Royal Dutch/Shell joined forces in a worldwide petroleum additives joint venture in 1996.
Yet Exxon was unable--some said unwilling--to shake itself free of its Exxon Valdez legacy. Having already spent some $1.1 billion to settle state and federal criminal charges related to the spill, Exxon faced a civil trial in which the plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages amounting to $16.5 billion. The 14,000 plaintiffs in the civil suit included fishermen, Alaskan natives, and others claiming harm from the spill. In June 1994 a federal jury found that the huge oil spill had been caused by "recklessness" on the part of Exxon. Two months later the same jury ruled that the company should pay $286.8 million in compensatory damages; then in August the panel ordered Exxon to pay $5 billion in punitive damages. Although Wall Street reacted positively to what could have been much larger damage amounts and Exxon's huge profits placed it in a position to reach a final settlement and perhaps put the Exxon Valdez nightmare in its past, the company chose to continue to take a hard line. It vowed to exhaust all its legal avenues to overturn the verdict--including seeking a mistrial and a new trial and filing appeals. In June 1997, in fact, Exxon formally appealed the $5 billion verdict. Exxon seemed to make another PR gaffe in the late 1990s when it attempted to reverse a federal ban on the return to Alaskan waters of the Exxon Valdez, which had by then been renamed the Sea-River Mediterranean. Environmentalists continued to berate the company for its refusal to operate double-hulled tankers, a ship design that may have prevented the oil spill in the first place. In addition, in an unrelated but equally embarrassing development, Exxon in 1997 reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in which it agreed to run advertisements that refuted earlier ads claiming that its high-octane gasoline reduced automobile maintenance costs
So there you have it, huge profits and a fight to the bitter end refusing to pay fines and penalties and just through inflation alone the punitive fines laid on Exxon Mobile have been gutted to nothing...Yet there is more on Exxon mobile and big oil.....Have a gander at this.
The US judge responsible for levying record fines against ExxonMobil two decades ago has refused to reopen the case to seek further penalties for continuing damage to Alaskan fisheries and wildlife.
The Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska in 1989 was the worst oil spill in US waters until last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster. (Unsurprisingly, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson has today condemned BP for its role in the April 2010 spill. Yesterday, BP’s CEO Robert Dudley claimed that the incident was not a “one-in-a-million occurrence” and that industry-wide changes are needed.) The Valdez dumped 11 million gallons of oil into the sound and contaminated about 1,300 miles of coastline.
The settlement sought for nearly 20 years was $5 billion. By June 2009, ExxonMobil had paid $900 million including interest (Exxon only paid 75% of the $500 million punitive damages eventually awarded), less than one fifth of what was originally sought and after 20 percent of the plaintiffs were deceased. In the fine’s clause was a further payment of $100 million for any lingering impacts of the spill.
Monday’s ruling by US District Court Judge H. Russel Holland means that ExxonMobil will not be forced to pay the $100 million sought. A settlement between federal and state governments looks more likely and, if the record of the Alaskan Governor is any indicator, with yet another reduction of the fine on the cards.
Current Governor of Alaska, Sean Parnell, worked at law firm Patton Boggs between 2005-2006, representing ExxonMobil against plaintiffs including Alaskan state prosecutors. It was Patton Boggs who managed to reduce Exxon’s original $5 billion punitive damages by more than $2 billion in December 2006. Before that, Mr. Parnell served as Director of Government Relations at ConocoPhillips.
Sean Parnell is not only a vocal critic of President Obama’s ‘red tape’ against oil drilling in Alaska but served under Sarah Palin as Lieutenant Governor when the federal government reopened the settlement agreement seeking further funds from Exxon for remediation. Under both Sarah “Drill Baby Drill” Palin and Sean Parnell’s leadership, Exxon’s fines have withered away. Neither Alaskan administration has bothered to take the company to court or pressed for money.
Professor Rick Steiner, who has long campaigned against irresponsible oil and gas drilling in Alaska, had sought to re-open the original 1991 settlement. He was understandably disappointed with the ruling: “”He’s the judge that approved this provision 20 years ago, and for him to disavow any responsibility for it now is pretty astonishing
You see folks, what would happen when there is a giant oil spill on our Northern coast?..Who would pay, not Enbridge, their oil is on land and in a pipe, they wouldn`t be held legally responsible, Oil tankers carrying ships at most can get $500 million dollars worth of insurance, that is the maximum, and if it happened to be some Liberian registered oil tanker the odds of finding anyone willing to pay is slim and none, hell, we can`t even get money out of oil giants sitting on $trillions in cash, they would rather fight than settle, they have lawyers on their side, judges and law makers in their pockets, and through attrition and plaintiffs dying off and the passage of time alone reduces any settlement costs.......
And so you might be asking, why Grant are you bringing this up now...What better time, before I expose the reason of this post I would like you to read another example of big oil screwing over a Nation, this time the victim is Ecuador, the have attempted to sue Chevron 10sof $billion for destroying the environment, but guess what, Chevron pulled out of Ecuador and the LAW...Some LAW claims Ecuador only has standing in a court room in Ecuador, in other words, now that Chevron has left Ecuador there is no way to sue the company short of kidnapping Chevron executives and dragging therm back to Ecuador to face criminal charges against the people and environment.
NY District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan did as ESG Insider predicted – it ruled that the total $18 billion fine levied by the Ecuador Government against Chevron cannot be enforced in the United States or anywhere outside of Ecuador. This leaves the Ecuadorian government in a quandry, as Chevron now owns no assets in Ecuador.
Judge Kaplan said that Chevron faced “imminent” and “irreparable” harm to its business relationships and reputation. Kent Robertson, a Chevron spokesperson said, “The Lago Agrio plaintiffs’ lawyers should not be allowed to benefit from an Ecuadorean judicial system that does not provide due process and from a judgment that they have procured through fraud and corruption.”
Last month, Judge Kaplan issued a restraining order against the plaintiffs, claiming that there are questions over the legitimacy of the proceedings in Ecuador and whether corruption was involved in the final decision. Chevron claims that the proceedings in Ecuador are part of an extortion scheme, despite the fact that the final fine is far less than the $113 billion initially sought by plaintiffs. As per the terms of the penalty imposed last month, the fine rose to $18 billion after Chevron refused to issue a public apology.
As per the March 7th injunction, Ecuador cannot seize any of Chevron’s assets before the racketeering case against the plaintiffs has concluded. This case, of course, is taking place in New York. Today, Chevron appealed against the ruling in Lago Agrio, Ecuador. No fine can be levied during the appeals process.
Karen Hinton, a spokesperson for the Ecuadoreans and a defendant in the racketeering case, said on Tuesday: “This decision is a slap in the face to the democratic nation of Ecuador and the thousands of Ecuadorian citizens who have courageously fought for 18 years to hold Chevron accountable for committing the world’s worst environmental disaster.”
Ecuadorian prosecutors claim that 18 billion gallons of toxic waste was leaked into the Amazon basin between 1972 and 1992 by Texaco, which was bought by Chevron in 2001. Independent researchers from Sweden’s Umea University claim that, in total, over 30 billion gallons of crude oil and toxic waste have been discharged into the Amazon basin by oil companies.
The injunction granted by Judge Kaplan can be viewed here.
How much proof do we need that the oil companies will screw us after a big spill, they will talk and talk about spills never happening but what happens when the inevitable oil spill happens...Note to Enbridge and every other pipeline whore...You want a pipeline...A super-fund of $100 billion dollar minimum must be held in trust by a citizens group that has full control over all the money, Enbridge must sign legal waivers that cedes the money to the citizen group for dispersal to the affected groups, waivers also must be signed preventing any law suits in any courts filed by either the oil companies or Enbridge.....You still want to play Enbridge, have you got a $100 billion dollar pile of cash handy?...I think not, get back too us when you have the money!....But seriously, time after time big oil gives both Governments and the people the finger, in Bopal a court ruled that the CEOs in charge of that deadly gas disaster were responsible for deaths of townsfolk, 30 years later a court finds them guilty, the CEOs and management have appealed, they are all in their late 70s and 80s or dead...Meaning they will never pay, now what was it I heard that spawned this post....
Do you remember the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the negligence on BP`s part, remember all the ads they ran promising to clean it all up and make people whole.....We ll guess what, BP has filed in court, BP wants their fine to based on how many days the oil leaked, not the amount leaked, you might wonder what the big deal is...Well, under the current fine regime BP will be fined anywhere from $5 billion to $20 billion for the gulf spill...BP is suing to have it reduced to a mere few $million dollars in fines, BP is claiming innocence, the drilling company is claiming innocence as well, this will be another decades long court battle with BP paying nothing and taxpayers paying for the court...Oh indeed, millions for ads of pristine watersheds while lawyers for big oil wait for litigants to die...Here is the shocking story from British Petroleum..
HOUSTON, April 6 (UPI) -- BP wants its fines for the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster calculated on how many days the leak flowed rather than how many barrels leaked.
In court filings in Houston federal court Tuesday, the oil firm responded to a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit filed in December that estimates 4.1 million barrels spilled after the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, 2010. The well was capped July 15 and permanently sealed Sept. 19.
The federal government says it will seek civil penalties of $1,000 to $4,300 per barrel based on whether willful negligence is found. BP denies willful negligence and says fines should be set at $32,500 for each day the well flowed.
That system would yield fines from $2.8 million to $4.9 million, depending on whether the capping or sealing date is used. The per-barrel system would mean fines of $4.1 billion to more than $20 billion.
BP's partners in the well, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and MOEX Offshore, a unit of Mitusi, also filed papers denying negligence or willful misconduct
Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/04/06/BP-wants-favorable-spill-fine-calculation/UPI-37201302108843/#ixzz1It4qkOH1
Time after time big oil loots, pillages and poisons the environment, and who pays, not big oil, people pay with their lives and health, when is enough enough.... Go stick you pipeline up your ass Alberta, or if you wish you can connect one end of the pipeline to Stephen Harper`s Asshole.
The Straight Goods
Cheers Eyes Wide Open