THE jury hearing a $15 billion lawsuit against Exxon Corporation wants to see for itself what damage lingers five years after a tanker ran aground and smeared 11 million gallons of crude oil across the sound - the worst spill in US history.
The country's biggest environmental lawsuit was scheduled to resume yesterday. Weather permitting, jurors will climb into helicopters and visit ground zero of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. They asked to view the wilderness that - on the surface - looks fully restored.
About 10,000 commercial fishermen already have been awarded $286.8 million in damages to compensate for damage to fisheries. They and thousands of other plaintiffs - including Alaska Native groups, coastal communities and landowners - are seeking $15 billion in punitive damages. Exxon, which spent $2 billion on the cleanup and has paid millions more in fines and fees, argues that it has been punished enough. Montana wildfires
A PAIR of fires roared uncontrolled through northwestern Montana yesterday, advancing on nearly 70 houses and forcing dozens of evacuations. The worst blaze covered 12,000 acres in the Flathead National Forest, less than two miles from a 30-house development near Whitefish, Mont.
Elsewhere in the West, the National Inter-agency Fire Center said more than 18,700 fire-fighters were battling 30 major fires that were out of control. The fires covered 455,897 acres in Idaho, Montana, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and California. Rain spares rally
ABOUT 200 residents of Wedowee, Ala. - white and black - together sang ``Amazing Grace'' and prayed for an end to racial turmoil next to their arson-burned high school. Sunday's service was organized by 26 area ministers as a way to unify the small east Alabama town that was torn apart in February when school principal Hulond Humphries threatened to cancel the prom to prevent interracial dating.
On Saturday night, a dozen robed Ku Klux Klan members gathered in Graham, 20 miles east of Wedowee, to burn a cross, but a thunderstorm broke as they began to light it. When the rain stopped an hour later, only half of the 20-foot-cross would burn.