03/25/14 - 8:20am
The guy at the helm wasn’t the only one asleep at the wheel when the Exxon Valdez “fetched up hard aground” on Bligh Reef 25 years ago. Comfortably protected by corporate personhood, Exxon and Alyeska Pipeline executives had put quarterly profits ahead of operational safety. With a wink and nod from Texas headquarters, tanker captains regularly ignored Prince William Sound speed limits and shipping lanes. The US Coast Guard, apparently bored, had stopped paying attention. State oversight agencies were missing in action — until it was too late to prevent disaster.