June 01, 2006
"The health of Prince William Sound and the habitat it provides for numerous species is vitally important to Alaskans and all Americans," Murkowski said. "The lingering oil, which most of us believed would have been weathered and neutralized by now, appears to be as fresh and toxic as the day it was spilled. It is crucial for the ecology of the beaches to remediate that oil where it is still found.
"We look forward to working with ExxonMobil to fund this restoration project. The language of the reopener clause is very specific in that it requires a defined project to fix a problem that was not anticipated in 1991, and that can be directly connected to the spill. We are confident the project we have proposed today meets all the necessary criteria. We hope ExxonMobil will carefully consider the restoration plan."
The plan announced today does not include a plan of relief for one area of significant public concern - the decline in herring population - which would be addressed through the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.
"While many Alaskans have expressed their concern over the declining herring population, scientific experts have been unable to identify a sufficiently provable link between the decline in herring and the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill," Murkowski said. "Therefore, I have asked the state trustees on the EVOS Council to seek agreement from the Council to use a portion of the remaining funds from the original civil settlement to investigate the decline, and develop and implement restoration plans to bring this critical fish population back to health."
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