An estimated 20,000 gallons of crude oil remain trapped in the gravelly beaches of Prince William Sound, Alaska, long after the Exxon Valdez oil spill..
On April 26, weathered oil is seen near the coast of Louisiana from a leaking pipeline that resulted from an explosion on a Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig. Crews are working with robot submarines to activate a shutoff device known as a blowout preventer to close off the flow of oil at the sunken rig's well head. Hundreds of miles of marshes, barrier islands, and white sand beaches are threatened by the approaching oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
Oil companies are eyeing Alaska's largely untapped outer continental shelf. Critics say that's another Exxon Valdez waiting to happen.
The Supreme Court cut Exxon's payment far more than many residents had expected.
The ruling, a victory for Exxon, reduced the $2.5 billion punitive damages to about $500 million.
At issue: Should the company pay $2.5 billion in punitive damages for the 1989 oil spill?