Alaskans stunned by oil-spill verdict

Almost 20 years after the Exxon Valdez supertanker created the worst oil spill in American history, many Alaskans expressed outrage after a legal ruling that trimmed Exxon's punitive damages for the 1989 disaster far more than many residents had expected.

The verdict from the US Supreme Court cut compensation payments for the spill by at least 80%. Alaskan governor Sarah Palin described the verdict as "tragic", the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Exxon said that after spending US$3.4 billion on cleanup and settlements, it needed no further punishment. But plaintiffs said the
verdict failed to take into account damages that were never compensated at first, in part because of the long time it took for some environmental impacts to manifest themselves.

About 2,080 kilometres of coastline were contaminated as a result of the oil spill, according to the BBC.

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