ALASKA UPSET WITH EXXON'S PLAN TO PULL OUT CLEANUP WORKERS
VALDEZ, ALASKA — State officials reacted angrily to Exxon's plan to pull all its oil spill cleanup forces out of Alaska by mid-September, saying crews should stay until the area is clean. Meanwhile, the oil giant indicated the cost of cleaning up the nation's largest oil spill would total about $1.25 billion and was a major factor behind a plunge in its second-quarter earnings.
In a memo released Monday, a top company official said the Sept. 15 pullout date wasn't negotiable.
``It's not enough to declare victory and go home,'' Gov. Steve Cowper said Monday. ``Virtually from the beginning, Exxon promised Alaskans that the company would stay until the job was done. I expect them to fulfill that promise.''
But Exxon spokesman Henry Beathard said there was nothing new in the memo. ``We've been saying all along we would operate until about Sept. 15 when we have to shut down because of the weather. None of that has changed.''