The "Reopener Claim" stems from the settlement of litigation between the State of Alaska, United States, and Exxon, approved in U.S. District Court on October 9, 1991.
Exxon agreed to pay $900 million with annual payments stretched over a 10-year period. The final payment was received in September 2001. The settlement contained a "reopener window" between September 1, 2002 and September 1, 2006, during which the governments could make a claim for up to an additional $100 million. The funds must be used to restore resources that suffered a substantial loss or decline as a result of the oil spill, the injuries to which could not have been known or anticipated by the six trustees from any information in their possession or reasonably available to any of them at the time of the settlement (September 25, 1991).
On August 31, 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice and the State of Alaska Department of Law began the reopener claim process on behalf of the federal and state governments, providing ExxonMobil Corporation with a detailed project plan for the cleanup of lingering oil at an estimated cost of $92 million.
View the governments' joint press release
View the government's fact sheet on the Reopener and Restoration Plan
View the Dept. of Interior fact sheet on the Reopener
Trustee Council Role
The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council administers the settlement funds. The Trustee Council is not a party to the reopener claim, although individual Trustees may be because the agencies they represent are participants.
Because it is not a participant, the Council cannot provide information beyond that which is publicly available.
On October 14, 2015, the governments filed a joint status report in federal court that the governments would not be proceeding under the Reopener. More information can be found in the Final Document for the Reopener (pdf).