The 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS) discharged approximately 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound. The oil spill affected the land, water, and wildlife and had a devastating effect on the people of the Chugach region who rely on and value those natural resources for economic, aesthetic and subsistence use.
In the wake of the spill, a portion of Exxon’s punitive damages included a $900 million settlement paid to the state and federal government. The EVOS Trustee Council, comprised of three state and three federal representatives, was formed in 1991 to oversee the settlement for the purposes of restoring the spill area’s injured ecosystem, including the human services that were impacted by the spill.
Prior to making expenditure decisions, the Trustee Council must consider input from the Public Advisory Committee, and the Federal trustees must obtain consent from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Despite the Council’s clear mandate to restore spill-affected areas (which has not been accomplished), the Trustee Council has embarked on plans to “spend down” the entire remainder of the funds and dissolve the Trustee Council.