EXXON CALLS COAST GUARD NEGLIGENT

Exxon Corporation has filed legal papers charging that Coast Guard negligence contributed to the Exxon Valdez oil spill and claiming the agency is ``wholly or partially liable'' for more than $2 billion in cleanup and related costs, Exxon officials confirmed Oct. 2. In an apparent effort to complicate the government's criminal case against Exxon for the March 24, 1989, spill, the oil company said it filed a ``notice of claims for indemnity'' with the Coast Guard. The papers say the agency shared the blame for the accident and should take some measure of financial responsibility.

Among other items, the notice of claims says the Coast Guard should help defray ``Exxon's contribution to expenditures totaling in excess of $2 billion for cleanup for which the Coast Guard is wholly or partially liable.''

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