Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

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Most companies have their downfalls throughout their history that are either due to natural causes, or due to poor management. The Exxon Valdez oil spill is no exception to this. This particular oil spill has had Exxon Valdez oil spill was an environmental catastrophe that caused lasting effects on the Exxon company, environment and the people who live and depend on the prosperity of the area. On March 24, 1989 the Exxon Valdez tanker loaded with oil entered Prince William Sound, Alaska. Joe Hazelwood was in charge of piloting the 986-foot vessel. The internal events that prior to the spill aren’t exactly clear but what was clear was that people who were put in charge for the Exxon Valdez tanker were negligent. The vessel had traveled outside…show more content…
The spill tested the abilities of local, national, and industrial organizations to prepare for, and respond to, a disaster of such magnitude. Environmentalists and saw an opportunity to reap they benefit the punishment that Exxon receive from court. This led to several court cases for Exxon in the span of many years after the spill. According to the New York times, In the subsequent years after the spill, Exxon ended up paying a total of billions of dollars in state and federal lawsuits. Some of them included Alaska landowners, and commercial fishermen and environmental group. Due to the fact that the damage done in this case impacted the shipping, fishing industries, shipping insurers, consumers, tourism and most importantly the environment (Oil Spill Trustee Council). On the whole, the courts found a way from everyone to somewhat receive a benefit for the unexpected pain that they faced. Although they had to pay millions of dollars in damages, Exxon also benefited after the accident. Exxon eventually merged with Mobil oil. Making billions in profits and becoming the largest US company. All in all, the accident also helped to create a new industry around environmental groups, scientific organizations, experts in the psychological trauma of oil spills. Today network of fishermen are trained and paid by the oil industry to respond to future…show more content…
By using utilitarian moral principles we can argue the case from a different perspective. Utilitarianism holds that an action that produces the greatest balance of benefits over harms for everyone affected. As long as a course of action produces maximum benefits for everyone. Utilitarianism does not care whether the benefits are produced by lies, manipulation, or coercion when holds a greater outcome for many. This theory creates controversy in business ethics in case of this corporation’s obligations to society. It could be said that Exxon was following their own self-interest by stopping more spilling but they had no obligation to repay people in society. Only an obligation to let shareholders know how this oil spill would affect profits. It was a good strategy to let people who depended on the water know about the spill but they had no obligation to pay environmental groups or any other groups that filed a complaint. Just as long as they took responsibility for letting it happen and breaking a few laws. However under utilitarianism and Mill’s harm principle (Rachels,3) Exxon should have done everything in their power to undo the wreckage they had done to nonhuman animals. According to Mills & Bentham (Rachels,98), it is because they suffered the most casualties that they also deserve to be considered in this case. Exxon caused harm to their environment which would eventually affect

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