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Exxon Valdez Restitution Paid

The former captain of the Exxon Valdez finished paying his official debt to Alaska for the nation's worst oil spill, giving the state a $50,000 check.

The state received the check from Joseph Hazelwood's lawyers Wednesday, said Diane Wendlandt, chief of the attorney general's collections office.

The restitution was part of a sentence handed down in 1990 after a jury convicted Hazelwood of negligent discharge of oil.

In 1989, the tanker polluted Alaska's Prince William Sound with 11 million gallons of crude oil and smeared black goo across roughly 1,500 miles of coastline.

Hazelwood was given probation instead of prison, and the restitution was a condition of that probation, said Dean Guaneli, chief assistant attorney general.

The sentence also included 1,000 hours of community work service, which he completed last summer, said Fred Fulgencio, the city's work service program supervisor.

Judge Karl Johnstone had said in 1990 that he wanted Hazelwood to spend some community service hours scrubbing oiled rocks, but appeals took so long that the cleanup was over by the time the court approved the sentence in 1999.

Instead, Hazelwood came to Anchorage for a month during several summers and worked at a cafe, Fulgencio said.

The jury found recklessness by Exxon and Hazelwood, who caused the tanker to run aground on a charted reef. Exxon has since merged with Mobil to form Exxon Mobil Corp.

The plaintiffs had alleged that Hazelwood ran the ship aground while drunk and that Exxon knew he had a drinking problem. Hazelwood, however, was acquitted in 1990 of operating the tanker while drunk.

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