The March 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska quickly spawned the name “spillionaire”—a person getting well-paid by Exxon to clean up the spill or getting paid a large settlement as compensation for the spill. “Spillionaire” is cited in print by at least January 1990.
A “spillion” can mean a “spill million” dollars—what a person ("spillionaire") makes from an oil spill. “Spillion” (of dollars) is cited in print from at least 1999.
A “spillion” can also mean a “spill million” gallons. In June 2010, the Drudge Report website wrote about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with the headline: “60 SPILLION GALLONS LATER: OBAMA TO MEET WITH BP CHAIRMAN.”
Wikipedia: Deepwater Horizon oil spill
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also referred to as the BP Oil Spill, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill or the Macondo blowout) is a massive ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, now considered the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. Some estimates placed it by late May or early June as among the largest oil spills in the world with tens of millions of gallons spilled to date. The spill stems from a sea floor oil gusher that followed the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion. The explosion killed 11 platform workers and injured 17 others.
The gusher, now estimated by the quasi-official Flow Rate Technical Group to be flowing at 20,000 to 40,000 barrels (840,000 to 1,700,000 US gallons; 3,200,000 to 6,400,000 litres) of crude oil per day, originates from a deepwater wellhead 5,000 feet (1,500 m) below the ocean surface. The exact spill flow rate is uncertain – in part because BP has refused to allow independent scientists to perform accurate measurements – and is a matter of ongoing debate. The resulting oil slick covers a surface area of at least 2,500 square miles (6,500 km2), with the exact size and location of the slick fluctuating from day to day depending on weather conditions. Scientists have also reported immense underwater plumes of oil not visible at the surface.
Experts fear that the spill will result in an environmental disaster, with extensive impact already on marine and wildlife habitats. The spill has also damaged the Gulf of Mexico fishing and tourism industries. There have been a variety of ongoing efforts to stem the flow of oil at the wellhead. Crews have been working to protect hundreds of miles of beaches, wetlands and estuaries along the northern Gulf coast, using skimmer ships, floating containment booms, anchored barriers, and sand-filled barricades along shorelines. The U.S. Government has named BP as the responsible party in the incident, and officials have said the company will be held accountable for all cleanup costs resulting from the oil spill.
Wikipedia: Exxon Valdez oil spill
The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, hit Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef and spilled an estimated minimum 10.8 million US gallons (40.9 million litres, or 250,000 barrels) of crude oil. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters ever to occur in history. As significant as the Valdez spill was — the largest ever in U.S. waters until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill — it ranks well down on the list of the world’s largest oil spills in terms of volume released. However, Prince William Sound’s remote location (accessible only by helicopter, plane and boat) made government and industry response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing plans for response. The region is a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals and seabirds. The oil, originally extracted at the Prudhoe Bay oil field, eventually covered 1,300 miles (2,100 km) of coastline and 11,000 square miles (28,000 km2) of ocean.
n. A person who receives a large settlement as compensation for an oil spill.
Posted on October 5, 1996
April 1919, Everybody’s Magazine, pg. 34, col. 3:
“That’s the talk!” cried Aunty. “We’ll make you a millionaire inside six months. A spile millionaire—a new kind—patent applied for. A spillionaire, by Jerry!”
In the wake of the Exxon Valdez:
The devastating impact of the Alaska oil spill
By Art Davidson
San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books
To some, the spill becomes another gold rush: the spillionaires, as they come to be called, find they can make big money from Exxon’s cleanup efforts.
28 January 1990, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “Captain is condemned, praised as he heads to trial,” pg. 3A:
[Joe] Hazelwood brought riches to many people on the Prince William Sound. “Spillionaires,” they call themselves.
2 August 1992, Newsday (Long Island, NY), pg. 64:
Among the more colorful blends is another contribution from the business world, spillionaire, defined by Barnhart as a person who took advantage of the Valdez…
Alaska’s Eyewitness to History
17 March 1996, Anchorage (AK) Daily News, pg. B1:
PAYOUT COMES AT HIGH PRICE
By NATALIE PHILLIPS
Daily News reporter
He is set to become an Exxon oil ‘’spillionaire.’’
McLenaghan is one of the 100 or so permit holders from the Chignik area who will split $186.8 million if the $5 billion award in the Exxon oil spill lawsuit survives the appeals process.
September 30, 1996
The Spill And Its Spoils
The Exxon Valdez crashed in 1989; the debate over recovery still rages
The prospective windfall has tempered Alaskans’ sympathy for the affected fishermen—The Anchorage Daily News has dubbed them “spillionaires"—and is a touchy subject in Cordova. “If you’re doing [a story on] the spillionaire thing, I don’t think people are going to be interested in talking to you,” Hawxhurst warned a reporter.
21 March 1999, Syracuse (NY) Herald-American, “Exxon Valdez: A Decade Later,” pg. D5, col. 1:
O’Toole blames much, though not all, of the bad market on Exxon. “Tell me about all my ‘spillions,’” she says bitterly. “Then tell me how Exxon made me whole.”
A sociology of communities and environmental controversies
By Valerie Jan Gunter and J. Stephen Kroll-Smith
Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press
Some residents framed the activities of their neighbors who worked on cleanup using an excoriating voice: “Cleanup workers and contractors were called ‘Exxon whores’ who accepted ‘blood money’ and became ‘spillionaires.’”
Progress!… “60 Spillion Gallons” Later Obama Will Finally Meet With BP Chairman
Posted by Jim Hoft on Friday, June 11, 2010, 6:13 AM
60 SPILLION GALLONS LATER: OBAMA TO MEET WITH BP CHAIRMAN (Headline from “Drudge Report” website—ed.)
But, he still won’t meet with the CEO!
New York City • Banking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Friday, June 11, 2010 • Permalink