March 24, 1989- Exxon Valdez Runs Aground in Alaska
The tanker ship Exxon Valdez runs aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The tanker spills 10.9 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, impacting over 1,100 miles of Alaska coastline. The U.S. and Alaska file criminal charges against Exxon Corp., and a class action suit is filed by 32,000 fishermen, Alaska natives, and others whose livelihoods were affected by the disaster. The suits result in an award of over $2.5 billion in civil damages (currently being reviewed on appeal) and Exxon's payment of over $900 million in criminal fines.