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Oil Spill Facts

The Reopener

The "Reopener Claim" stems from the settlement of litigation between the State of Alaska, United States, and Exxon, approved in U.S. District Court on October 9, 1991.

Civil Settlement
Exxon agreed to pay $900 million with annual payments stretched over a 10-year period. The final payment was received in September 2001. The settlement contained a "reopener window" between September 1, 2002 and September 1, 2006, during which the governments could make a claim for up to an additional $100 million. The funds must be used to restore resources that suffered a substantial loss or decline as a result of the oil spill, the injuries to which could not have been known or anticipated by the six trustees from any information in their possession or reasonably available to any of them at the time of the settlement (September 25, 1991).

Reopener Claim
On August 31, 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice and the State of Alaska Department of Law began the reopener claim process on behalf of the federal and state governments, providing ExxonMobil Corporation with a detailed project plan for the cleanup of lingering oil at an estimated cost of $92 million.

View the reopener demand letter
View the reopener demand letter news release
View the Comprehensive Plan for Habitat Restoration Projects Pursuant to Reopener for Unknown Injury

View the governments' joint press release
View the government's fact sheet on the Reopener and Restoration Plan
View the Dept. of Interior fact sheet on the Reopener

Trustee Council Role
The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council administers the settlement funds. The Trustee Council is not a party to the reopener claim, although individual Trustees may be because the agencies they represent are participants.

Because it is not a participant, the Council cannot provide information beyond that which is publicly available.

Current Status
Questions on the current status of the reopener claim should be directed to Wyn Hornbuckle, Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, at 1-202-514-2007 or Wyn.hornbuckle@usdoj.gov