Exxon Valdez: Spared from $92 Million in Additional Oil Spill Damages

By October 29, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

More than 25 years after one of the largest oil spills in US waters of all time, Exxon is released from having to pay an additional $92 million from 1989’s Exxon Valdez oil spill.

On the 24th of March, 1989, tanker Exxon Valdez is grounded on Alaska’s Prince William Sound, with a ruptured hull that would launch about 11 million gallons (or 260,000 barrels) of crude oil into precious waters off Alaska. At the time, the disaster was unprecedented in scale, and demanded an equally unprecedented response from various federal, state, local and private entities. 1,500 miles of coastline, as well as parks, wildlife habitats, refuges and sanctuaries, many marine animals, and local livelihoods would ultimately be adversely affected by the disaster.  

Lawsuits following the spill would lead to $125 million in criminal fines and restitution, and a $900 million civil settlement, with a decree outlining a “reopener” provision that leaves the government some elbow room to seek more funds for restoration projects in the future. This clause would be invoked in 2006, to the tune of $92 million, to combat lingering oil.

A court filing earlier this October, however, withdraws the request seeking the additional $92 million; funds from the original settlement had been used instead for further studies, plus information on certain marine animals that could have been impacted by the lingering oil showed significant recovery, effectively negating the claim within the bounds set by the reopener. Furthermore, over $200 million of the settlement reportedly remains for restoration work.

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^ “Alaska and U.S. drop pursuit of further Exxon Valdez claims.” MarineLog, 15 Oct 2015. Web. 25 Oct 2015. http://www.marinelog.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=9912:alaska-and-us-drop-pursuit-of-further-exxon-valdez-claims&Itemid=231

^ Bohrer, Becky. “State, feds won’t pursue $92M more in Exxon Valdez spill.” The Seattle Times, 15 Oct 2015. Web. 25 Oct 2015. http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/state-feds-wont-pursue-92m-more-in-exxon-valdez-spill/

^ Cavaliere, Victoria. “U.S., Alaska End Pursuit of Additional Payout Over Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.” gCaptain, 15 Oct 2015. Web. 25 Oct 2015. http://gcaptain.com/u-s-alaska-end-pursuit-of-additional-payout-over-exxon-valdez-oil-spill/#.VizjoWeSw_g

^ “Exxon Released from 1989 Spill Damages.” The Maritime Executive, 15 Oct 2015. Web. 25 Oct 2015. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/us-wont-seek-additional-92-million-for-exxon-valdez-spill

^ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Response and Restoration. “Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.” NOAA.gov. Web. Accessed 25 Oct 2015. http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/oil-and-chemical-spills/significant-incidents/exxon-valdez-oil-spill

^ “UPDATE 1-U.S., Alaska: species recovered, no need for Exxon Valdez spill damages.” Reuters, 15 Oct 2015. Web. 25 Oct 2015. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/15/exxon-mobil-alaska-valdezspill-idUSL1N12F0VJ20151015

^ Image “Money Coins” courtesy of lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net