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Further Valdez spill damages?

Janet Babin Jun 1, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: It’s been more than 17 years since the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Exxon still owes the fishermen and communities of Alaska $5 billion. It hasn’t paid because it’s appealing the lawsuit. That figure, $5 billion, was the Exxon’s annual profit at the time the case was settled. By the way the company just made $8 billion last quarter. Today the government may take more steps on another aspect of this. More now from Janet Babin.

JANET BABIN: When the Valdez ran aground back in 1989, it spilled 11 million gallons of heavy crude into Prince William Sound.

A civil settlement was reached years ago. But the deal allowed state and federal governments to ask for up to $100 million additional dollars if the spill caused damages unforeseen at the time. New research suggests that it has. This month lawmakers asked Exxon to forego a legal battle and pay up, but the company turned them down.

MARIANNE JENNINGS: It’s just stunning that they don’t want to put this behind them.

Arizona State ethics Professor Marianne Jennings says Exxon is making a mistake.

JENNINGS: The gas prices being what they are people are so emotionally charged. When the political winds are going against you what you don’t want is this huge public outcry.

Today Alaska and the Department of Justice plan to file a claim seeking additional clean up funds.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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