The Associated Press
updated 10/1/2003 2:51:40 AM ET 2003-10-01T06:51:40

Exxon Mobil Corp. may have to pay further damages of up to $100 million as the oil spill from its Exxon Valdez tanker in Alaska 14 years ago continues to harm the environment, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

THE WORLD’S LARGEST oil company has already agreed to pay more than $1 billion to help clean up beaches and rivers in Prince William Sound damaged by the 1989 spill of more than 11 million gallons of oil, the Journal said.

The additional charges could come as part of the 1991 legal settlement, which agreed that the United States and the state of Alaska could seek more funds from Exxon for damages that may not have been evident at that time, the newspaper said.

Representatives from the U.S. Justice Department and the Alaska attorney general’s office declined to comment to the Journal and said they had not decided whether they would seek more money from Exxon Mobil.

Evidence of ecological disruption could be used by the government to ask for more money from Exxon, according to the paper.

The Journal cited documents, including summaries of government scientific surveys, first obtained by Richard Steiner, a marine biologist at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

Damages in regions affected by the oil have included a rise in egg mortalities of pink salmon, worse survival rates for female harlequin ducks and continuing accumulation of oil in mussels and other invertebrate species, the Journal reported.

Officials of Exxon Mobil, Irving, Texas told the newspaper that numerous studies have shown that Prince William Sound had fully recovered from the spill.

A company representative was not immediately available to comment to Reuters.

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© 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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