Letters to the Editor

Letter: Oil spill funds restoration

A group that authored a recent op-ed again proposed to transfer all remaining Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS) restoration funds from the state/federal spill Trustee Council to a private community development foundation with no experience in environmental restoration, and that would not be publicly accountable. However, they omitted the important fact that at the most recent EVOS Trustee Council meeting on Oct. 14, both the U.S. Department of Justice and Alaska Department of Law presented their legal conclusion that such a transfer, as proposed by the Rasmuson Foundation’s “EVOS Think Tank” in 2018 and 2020, would clearly violate both statute and the terms of the court-approved consent decree from which the spill Restoration funds derive.

Based on that legal conclusion, the Trustee Council then unanimously declined the Rasmuson proposal once and for all, without a single vote in favor, reaffirming that the spill restoration program will remain in government hands. That was the right decision. We the people will continue to have a voice in the future of the EVOS restoration process through our elected state and federal governments. To comment before Dec. 16 on the Trustee Council’s four draft resolutions on the way forward, go online to evostc.state.ak.us.

As Resolutions A, B and C would limit public engagement, scientific review and habitat protection, we recommend they be declined. Resolution D would permit the government trustees to conduct restoration where they deem most appropriate, unencumbered by the arbitrary, unscientific spill boundary drawn a quarter of a century ago, and thus I recommend Resolution D be adopted.

Rick Steiner


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