Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

The Nation

Owner Wants Ship's Alaska Ban Lifted

April 04, 2002|From Associated Press

SEATTLE — The Exxon Valdez should be allowed to return to Alaska's Prince William Sound, where it spilled 11 million gallons of oil in 1989, the tanker's owner told an appeals court Wednesday.

The Exxon Valdez, which now sails between the Middle East and Asia, has been barred from the sound since 1990, when Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act. The act prohibits any tanker that has spilled more than 1 million gallons since March 22, 1989, from entering Prince William Sound.

Lawyer E. Edward Bruce, who represents Exxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary SeaRiver Maritime Inc., argued that the law is unconstitutional because it singles out SeaRiver.

"This [law] was designed to exclude the Exxon Valdez from Alaska because of the hostility of Alaskans to the vessel," said Bruce.

He argued that Congress wanted to punish the Exxon Valdez when it set the date in the law as March 22, 1989. The ship ran aground the next day, devastating fish and wildlife and smearing oil across 1,500 miles of coastline in the nation's worst oil spill.

Justice Department lawyer Mark Stern argued that the law is constitutional and denied that it singled out SeaRiver. Around the world, dozens of other tankers have spilled that much oil since March 1989 and none would be allowed to enter Prince William Sound under the law, he said.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|