Exxon Mobil Corp. said Monday it won't appeal nearly $500 million in interest that a court recently ordered it to pay to Alaska fishermen, business owners and others harmed by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Exxon said it will pay $470 million in interest on the $507.5 million in punitive damages it has already begun paying out to claimants. The company has already paid out $383 million and the only sum that remains in dispute in the long-running lawsuit is $70 million in court fees, according to a company spokesman.
"We expect to make payment on the interest in the next few days," said Alan Jeffers, the Exxon spokesman.
He said he couldn't immediately provide an explanation for Exxon's decision not to challenge the court-ordered interest payment.
Exxon's decision is the latest in a series of high-profile Alaska actions this year. The company has endured two decades of infamy in the state thanks to its tanker running aground and spilling 11 million gallons of oil in Prince William Sound, and its lengthy fight over how much to pay in spill damages.
Earlier this year Exxon significantly upped its major sponsorship of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and it began drilling on its long-dormant oil and gas leases at the promising Point Thomson field. And this month it joined the competition to build a massive North Slope gas pipeline.
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