In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Exxon v. Baker drastically reducing a punitive damages award against the corporation arising out of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, People For the American Way Foundation president Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement:
“The Exxon Valdez struck a reef 19 years ago, but the people and environment of Prince William Sound are still feeling its effects. The oil spill was an environmental and economic disaster of historic proportions. The punitive damages in the case should reflect that fact as well as the size and scope of the responsible corporation.
“Exxon was responsible for one of the greatest environmental disasters our country has seen, and the Supreme Court let them off with a slap on the wrist. This award is a drop in the bucket of Exxon’s enormous profits, and it certainly provides no disincentive for them to avoid another accident in the future. This is another reminder of how precarious a position we’ve been put in by the rightward motion of the Court. Just like polar bears in the arctic, the environment is on very thin ice at the Supreme Court.”