This week a court in New Jersey ruled that Exxon must pay the state for lost recreational opportunities caused by contaminated refineries. The amount has yet to be determined. No decisions on whether appeals will be filed have been reported. One case where Exxon will appeal is the case of the Valdez spill in Alaska. A recent decision upheld the amount of damages and will not be reconsidering the damages. Unfortunately we are almost 20 years from the spill and Exxon will appeal again. I guess record profits create an inability to pay.
I'm not a legal expert but the NJ ruling may create a precedent that other polluters may be obligated to pay for extra damage caused by business operations. Hopefully a ruling like this can be expanded to hold corporations and individuals responsible for their actions. Obviously our commitment to future generations is not enough.