Exxon Valdez money used for New York wetlands $150,000 grant resulted from lawsuit settlement


NEW YORK -- New York City is using some of the money that Exxon Corp. paid to settle a lawsuit stemming from the Exxon Veldex spill to help clean marshes and wetlands in the city.

In March 1989 the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into the pristine waters of Alaska's Prince William Sound, causing one of the worst environmental disasters in history.

To settle the resulting lawsuit, filed by Alaska and the federal government - in addition to the $2 billion the company paid for direct cleanup costs - Exxon agreed to pay $900 million to be used for environmental good works around the United States.

Most of the money went to environmental projects in Alaska and the Florida Everglades, but $4.5 million was earmarked for smaller state and city projects that were chosen after a competition run by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

TC New York City was awarded $150,000, which the EPA said was the largest award given so far as a result of the competition.

The Parks Department will use the money to plant trees, shrubs and herbs along hillsides lining streams and marshes in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens in a campaign to reduce harmful runoffs into the waterways.

The plants, including blueberry, azalea and bayberry, will stabilize the soil, making it more difficult for harmful pollutants to filter through. The process is intended to clean up pollution and to prevent more.

"The Exxon Valdez disaster, with its images of oiled birds and devastated landscapes, drove home in mind-boggling magnitude the importance of preventing pollution before it occurs," said Jeanne Fox, a regional administrator for the EPA, in presenting a facsimile of the check.

The local work will be done by the Parks Department's Natural Resources Group, which was founded in 1984 and has won numerous awards for restoring damaged environments.

Pub Date: 9/21/97

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