Exxon Lawsuit in Federal Court Hearing on Friday
Arguments will be heard in a more than $92 million interest claim filed back in 2006 by the state and federal government.
The battle to get Exxon to pay up the remaining money it owes from the 1989 oil spill in Valdez continues in federal court Friday.
Arguments are set to be heard in a more than $92 million interest claim filed back in 2006 by the state and federal government. Some of the parties involved claim Prince William Sound and its wildlife continue to be negatively impacted by residual oil.
In 1991, Exxon paid $900 million as part of the original civil settlement but the agreement also contained a clause allowing the state and federal government to later claim up to $100 million more if lasting damages could be proved.
Exxon now argues that authorities missed the deadline to request the money and insists it owes nothing more.
Retired University of Alaska professor Rick Steiner, who was involved in the oil spill cleanup, pushed Friday’s motion.
Steiner said Exxon is not holding up its end of an agreement to address what he claims are long-term environmental damages caused by the nation’s second largest oil spill.
“Exxon agreed to it 20 years ago and here and now they are saying they don't owe a dime. It’s outrageous and certainly inexcusable…any responsible company would have simply paid the demand when it was made,” said Steiner.
Exxon Mobil issued the following statement on Wednesday: "There is no current active litigation between the federal and state governments and Exxon Mobil and Richard Steiner has no standing to start a lawsuit on behalf of them. The isolated pockets of oil residues are sheltered and pose no exposure to wildlife, a conclusion that was supported by an independent consulting firm."
After hearing oral arguments Friday, Federal Court Judge Russel Holland could make a ruling on the bench or in a written response which could take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.