First Mess Up, Then Mop Up

Hazelwood is ordered to help cleanse Alaska's shoreline

In the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill last March, Captain Joseph Hazelwood was widely viewed as America's Environmental Enemy No. 1. As the dimensions of the catastrophe in Prince William Sound came into focus, people had little trouble deciding where their sympathies lay: with the seabirds and otters suffering and dying in the oil-laden waters, not with the hard-drinking skipper who was in his cabin doing paperwork when his tanker plowed into Bligh Reef.

What a difference a year makes. Bursts of applause erupted in Courtroom C of Alaska Superior Court in Anchorage last week, as the jury acquitted...