Exxon Valdez disaster still screwing up Prince William Sound

Wildlife in Alaska’s Prince William Sound is still threatened by oil spilled from the tanker Exxon Valdez in 1989. According to a new study by researchers at the National Marine Fisheries Service, some 100 tons of oil still pollute the sound shoreline and are potentially accessible to foraging sea otters and ducks. Coincidentally, sea otter and duck populations have been slow to recover in the area. Exxon-funded studies have concluded that, in the words of an Exxon spokesflack, the sound “has recovered, it’s healthy and it’s thriving.” Exxon has paid at least $900 million toward Valdez cleanup; under a 1991 settlement, Alaska and the feds can ask for up to $100 million more for sustained eco-damage. Exxon has refused to pay $4.5 billon in punitive damages related to the spill. In no way trying to counter the bad PR, Exxon released a report today claiming the company paid $3 billion in environment-related expenses last year, is trying to be more energy-efficient, and totally doesn’t deserve its bad-guy rep.