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U.S. Supreme Court may hear Exxon Valdez crude oil spill case

UPI News Service, 06/11/2007 

The U.S. Supreme Court may hear an 18-year-old lawsuit regarding the Exxon Valdez spill of millions of gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals less than a month ago upheld a $2.5 billion punitive-damages judgment against ExxonMobil, which disputes claims made in intervening years by biologists, fishermen and others that damaging effects continue, The Christian Science Monitor reported Monday. That decision is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Studies report not all animal species have recovered. More than 30,000 people affected await what they call adequate compensation.

A recent federal study concluded oil persists below the shore's surface, declining by only about 4 percent a year, the Monitor said.

"Our results indicate that the remaining subsurface oil may persist for decades with little change" and poses a threat, National Marine Fisheries Service and other agencies concluded in a February report.

On its Web site, ExxonMobil responds "hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies conducted by researchers from major independent scientific laboratories and academic institutions" proved the Prince William Sound environment is "healthy, robust and thriving."

The company said it spent roughly $3 billion on environmental cleanup, government settlements, fines and compensation.

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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