THE BLOG
02/28/2008 01:31 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

John McCain and Exxon Valdez

grist.org

You're likely aware that the notorious Exxon Valdez case is back in court yet again. Yesterday, the Most Profitable Company of All Time argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that it shouldn't have to pay $2.5 billion in damages to Alaskans harmed by the spill. (That was reduced from the original $5 billion, but Exxon argues it shouldn't have to pay any damages. Yes, really.)

It is, of course, morally repugnant almost beyond measure for the company to be fighting this still today. But my outrage and disgust aren't particularly interesting. What might be interesting is a fact you may not know about the Republican presidential candidate, John McCain.

Just four months after the Valdez spill, Sen. George Mitchell introduced S.686, a measure relating to oil spills and liability. Sen. Brock Adams then introduced an amendment (S.Amdt.669) requiring double hulls on all new tankers over 20,000 tons operating in U.S. waters. (Valdez was a single-hull tanker.)

Big Oil's Best Buddy Sen. John Breaux moved to table the amendment. When the vote was taken, the amendment was indeed tabled, by an extremely narrow 51-48 vote.

Guess who voted with Breaux and Big Oil? That's right: Straight Talkin', Special Interest Hatin', Enviro-Maverick John McCain!

Again: four months after the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history, McCain voted against requiring double hulled tankers.

To this day, Exxon is the only oil company that doesn't use double-hulled tankers to ship oil in and out of Alaska.