June 15, 2009
The settlement determined by 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Monday is consistent with the figure set by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. The court also said that Exxon and the plaintiffs were responsible for their respective legal fees.
The payment will also include 5.9% interest payment accrued since 1996. Plaintiffs were originally awarded $5 billion, but that amount was severely decreased after subsequent appeals by Exxon.
Exxon Mobil Corporation insisted that the interest payments begin in 2008 after the Supreme Court ruling and also believed that plaintiffs should pay 90% of the company's legal fees. Exxon has paid over $70 million in legal fees, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In a prepared statement U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said, "I am gratified by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to award interest to the plaintiffs of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. While I am still extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision to reduce the punitive damage award, it is my hope that the interest will help the victims of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history recover a small part of their losses and not allow 13 years of appeals to deprive them of any more justice."
The Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground March 24, 1989, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound. The incident remains the worst oil spill in U.S. history, covering 11,000 square miles of ocean.
ExxonMobil is the world's largest publicly traded company when measured by revenue. According to estimates, ExxonMobil earned $477 billion in revenue in 2008. The companies Exxon and Mobil merged in 1999, recombining two companies that were originally founded by John D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil empire.
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