The fossil fuel industry operates with a tremendous amount of risk on its hands—risks that, unfortunately, often materialize and then fall on the public to pay. An unpleasant trip down memory lane reminds us of some of the Northwest’s expensive dirty energy accidents: the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, the 2016 oil train derailment in Mosier, Oregon, and the 2017 gas pipeline explosion in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. These are just a few of the mishaps that came with a cost above and beyond what the industry’s checkbook covered.
It might seem logical that polluters would be expected pay for the damage they cause, but that is not always the case. Too often taxpayers are the ones who foot the bill for an accident while the company that caused it attempts to shirk responsibility by declaring bankruptcy or stalling with litigation. Under current laws, the public cannot count on the industry to cover the financial impacts of fossil fuel pollution or remediation (to say nothing of assuming liability for its role in climate change). Read the rest of the article on the Sightline site here.