At least 11 million gallons of oil—and possibly as much as 38 million gallons, by some estimates—marred a huge swath of the Alaska coastline when the Exxon Valdez supertanker ran aground in Prince William Sound 20 years ago. The disaster ruined the careers of thousands of fisherfolk and plunged an entire community into a nightmare of ecological devastation and a soul-crushing, decades-long litigation with one of the biggest corporate giants to ever straddle the Earth.
A jury ordered ExxonMobil to pay the people of Cordova $5 billion in compensatory damage. An appeals court slashed that amount in half. And last year, the amount was again reduced to an insulting $507 million. Thousands of people died while they waited for closure. And the community that survived was devastated. Lives were destroyed, and a community’s spirit was smothered and left for dead.
It’s not often that a mainstream news outlet tells the story from the fishermen’s perspective, but that is just what this CBS Evening News report does.