Coast GuardMillions in Federal Costs May Not Be Recovered From Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Gao ID: RCED-91-68 March 5, 1991
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Exxon Valdez oil spill, focusing on: (1) the total spill-related costs reported as of June 30, 1990; (2) the extent of the oil carrier company's reimbursement to the government for spill-related costs through September 30, 1990; and (3) improvements needed in the reimbursement process in the event of future spills.
GAO found that: (1) the federal government, as of June 30, 1990, spent almost $154 million on the spill, for which the carrier reimbursed it or was processing reimbursement of $123 million; (2) through June 30, 1990, 10 federal agencies reported spending $116.9 million for removal, $22.6 million for damage assessment, and $14.2 million for other spill-related costs; (3) 4 of those agencies accounted for 87 percent of total costs incurred, and the Department of Defense accounted for $62.2 million, the largest portion; (4) as of September 30, 1990, the oil carrier company reimbursed the federal government for $116.1 million of the $153.7 million agencies reported they spent on the spill; (5) the Coast Guard's spill coordinator did not authorize for reimbursement a number of the agencies' activities, since it did not believe that they were related to oil removal; (6) several agencies lost opportunities to obtain reimbursement from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund because of problems in tracking and billing their spill-related costs completely and accurately; (7) agencies estimated that future cleanup activities would require at least another $26 million; and (8) the Department of Justice was considering civil litigation against the oil carrier company to recover damage assessment and restoration costs.Recommendations
Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.Director: Team: Phone: