BP, with the help of the federal government, is selling the impression that the worst is over for the victims of the worst environmental disaster in our nation’s history. While there was a major breakthrough when the oil leak was finally stopped, after over 100 days, the effects of this huge disaster are far from over. Each of us, and especially our elected officials – both nationally and locally – should remember the problems caused by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska some 21 years ago. If you go back and read the statements made by Exxon officials after that disaster occurred, and then compare them with the statements now being made by BP officials, you will find them to be virtually identical. The two messages were basically, “it’s all our fault, we will clean up the oil and take care of the victims.” In fact, Exxon said the victim’s were “lucky” because it was Exxon that caused the disaster.
We should then examine how Exxon actually treated the victims when they asked to be compensated for their losses, and compare that with the current claims-paying by BP along the Gulf Coast. The reality was that Exxon fought its victims for over 20 years and tried its dead-level best to keep them from getting what they were entitled to. The long-term effects of the oil spill in Alaska have been devastating to the people in that area. Hopefully, our public officials have learned from Exxon’s treatment of its victims in Alaska and will not let BP get away with the same tactics.
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