March 24, 2009
RIKI OTT: […] Exxon promised to make us whole. You know, “You’re lucky you have Exxon.” We hadn’t even gone to court by 1993. We had fish run collapses, bankruptcies, divorces, suicides, you know, domestic violence spikes, substance abuse spikes. The town was just unraveling. And we were waiting for somebody to help us: the State of Alaska, the federal government, the court system, Exxon. Nobody. And–
AMY GOODMAN: There were 33,000 plaintiffs.
RIKI OTT: There are 32,000 claims, 22,000 plaintiffs.
AMY GOODMAN: You’ve said that is not just an environmental disaster, but a crisis in democracy.
RIKI OTT: It is a democracy crisis. The question we started asking as our lawsuit went on and on and on, and we didn’t get paid, was how did corporations get this big, where they can manipulate the legal system, the political system? What happened here?
AMY GOODMAN: How many animals died?
Riki Ott, author, community activist, marine toxicologist and former fisherma’am. She is author of Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Spill.