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General News    H2'ed 4/30/10

Alabama GOP Justices Say "Don't Worry"Drill, Baby Drill'

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Message Press Release

From: Alabama Democratic Party
For Immediate Release: Friday, April 30, 2010
Contact: Jim Spearman, 334-262-2221

Alabama GOP Justices Say "Don't Worry"Drill, Baby Drill'

History Shows Alabama's Big Oil Supreme Court Likely Won'tRequire BP to Pay

MONTGOMERY, AL The oil spill destined for Alabama's shores is a shared tragedy which will inevitably end up in Alabama's court system for years to come.

If recent rulings in favor of Exxon-Mobil and the steady flow of out-of-state funds into the coffers of ALGOP Supreme Court races are any indication of future behavior, Alabama Democrats believe that the consequences for BP's Gulf Coastoil spill disaster will never threaten the oil giant's pocketbook in Alabama once jury verdicts reach the Alabama Supreme Court.

"The only way for Alabamians to receive economic justice from this environmental calamity washing upon our shores this weekend is for voters to elect impartial justices that are unafraid to upholda jury'spunitive damage verdicts when the evidence and law so requires.Alabama's RepublicanJustices never have, and never will. It is time for voters of Alabama to look at our court candidates in 2010,"saidAlabamaDemocratic Party Chairman Joe Turnham.

The unfolding tragedy in the Gulf Coast will undoubtedly unleash a wave of legal action against BP. This oil spill will most likely destroy fishery habitats, eco-systems and property values -- not to mention the endangered Gulf species it puts at further risk [HC, Tresaugue, 4/30]. It will cost taxpayers billions to clean up and will divert resources from critical areas in order to stop the flow of oil and clean up the spill. Experts have said it may take three months to stem the flow of oil into the Gulf and the consequences of this disaster will linger for years [PR, Raines, 4/29].

Chairman Turnham added, "Governor Riley says BP will pay for it, but when, and how? How can they repay for the damage done to North America's second most biologically diverse eco-system, the Mobile-Tensaw Delta? What about the immediate impact to our fisherman and our small business owners on the gulf?"The Alabama GOP adopted the "Drill, baby, drill!" motto without hesitation at the Republican National Convention in2008,consequences be damned.Even Republican Governor Bob Riley said in 2008 press release, "We need to drill and we need to do it now."

Recent history shows the majority-Republican Alabama Supreme Court has unfailingly followed their party's lead. On two separate occasions, the Alabama Supreme Courtoverturned multi-billion dollar verdicts against Exxon-Mobil for stealing Alabama's offshore gas. In 2003, the Alabama Supreme Court sent back to trial a $3.5 billion dollar verdict against Exxon-Mobil and in 2007, the Court again threw out a $3.6 billion dollar verdict against the company. Thesetwo awardswould have helped fund our state government and lessened the effects of budget cuts and proration.

The GOP judges ruled against the people of Alabama in the Exxon-Mobil cases and there is no indication they will hesitate to do so again, passing over our citizens and our fragile coastline in favor of BP. "Our Republican judges have allowed their elections to be bought by Big Oil in the past," Chairman Turnham stated. "Follow themoney and you'll see the exact same thing happening in 2010."

Last year Exxon-Mobil and BP reported net profits of $19.2 billion and $16.5 billion respectively. Neither has, nor will they likely ever pay a punitive award to the people of Alabama as long as the Republicans rule the Alabama Supreme Court. GOP now means: "Giving Oil Penance".


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