Justice and Law Enforcement:

Final Certification of TAP Fund

AIMD/OGC-00-250R: Published: Jul 5, 2000. Publicly Released: Jul 5, 2000.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the Comptroller General's final certification of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Liability Fund's payment of claims and administrative expenses.

GAO noted that: (1) pursuant to section 8102(a)(2)(A) of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Board of Trustees of the Trans-Alaska Fund reserved amounts within the fund necessary to pay claims under section 204(c) of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization (TAP) Act and administrative expenses necessary for and incidental to the implementation of section 204(c); (2) the Comptroller General certified to Congress on December 23, 1994, that the trustees had established the required reserve; (3) on December 22, 1995, after the trustees reduced the amounts in reserve, the Comptroller General certified to Congress that the new reserve satisfied the requirements of section 8102(a)(2)(A); (4) on October 28, 1999, the Comptroller General certified to Congress that the trustees had paid all claims arising from the American Trader incident, and established a reserve as required by section 8102(a)(2)(A) that was more than adequate to pay the court-ordered fees and administrative expenses related to the Exxon Valdez oil spill; (5) pursuant to section 8102(a)(2)(B), after each certification, from amounts in excess of the reserve, the trustees returned to Alaska its proportionate share of its contributions to the Trans-Alaska Fund as an owner of oil, and transferred the remaining amount of the excess to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund; (6) based upon GAO's work for prior certifications and GAO's review of documents and discussions with Trans-Alaska Funds Administrator, General Counsel, and independent external auditor, GAO has now concluded that the Trans-Alaska Fund has made all payments for claims under the TAP Act, including the amounts held in reserve for court ordered fees in the Exxon Valdez claims; (7) GAO has also concluded that all actions for recovery of amounts subject to 43 U.S.C. 1453(c) have been resolved; (8) all claims and all actions for recovery of amounts have been resolved as required by section 8102(a)(2)(A)(i)-(ii); (9) the Board of Trustees of the Trans-Alaska Fund has notified GAO that it paid all administrative expenses, except for those expenses that are incidental to the final distribution of the Trans-Alaska Fund's balance and, thus, are payable, necessarily, only after the date of the certification; (10) the trustees estimate that the monthly expenses that will be incurred after GAO's final certification will not exceed $16,500, including legal fees, salaries, rent, and miscellaneous expenses; and (11) based on GAO's review of these estimated expenses, GAO concludes that they are reasonable in comparison to the previous expenses of the Trans-Alaska Fund, and incidental to the final distribution of the Trans-Alaska Fund's balance.

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