Law: Battling Crimes Against Nature

The Exxon indictment spotlights a rapidly growing legal field

When the Exxon Valdez fouled Alaska's waters a year ago, Americans reacted with shock and indignation. Last week it was Exxon's turn to be shocked. U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh announced that the company had been indicted on five criminal counts stemming from the March 1989 oil spill. That action, which reportedly followed the breakdown of a plea bargain that Alaskan officials opposed as too lenient, could cost Exxon $700 million in fines if the company is convicted. Said Thornburgh: "We intend to see that the laws are fully and strictly enforced."

Thornburgh's tough words seemed to signal that the Bush...

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