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Exxon Valdez Damages Sent Back to Lower Court

A federal appeals court in San Francisco has again ordered that an Alaska court reconsider a multibillion dollar damage award in the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Texas-based Exxon Mobil is the world´s largest publicly traded oil company. It says it should pay no more than $25 million in damages, which is a fraction of the original $5 billion award.

A jury in Alaska approved that sum to punish the company for spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound in 1989.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals now says that award was excessive and has sent the case back to a judge in Anchorage. That judge reduced the award to $4 billion dollars last year, but Exxon Mobil appealed, saying the reduced figure was still too high.

Exxon Mobil says it cleaned up the spill and voluntarily compensated those who claimed direct damages.