Thursday, October 22, 2009

More on New York MTBE case: ExxonMobil ordered to pay $105 million

NEW YORK - A federal jury in Manhattan, after an 11-week trial, has found ExxonMobil liable for contaminating New York City's groundwater with the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), and awarded the City of New York $105 million in damages.
The city sued ExxonMobil for the costs of removing MTBE from drinking water wells in southeast Queens. The jury found Exxon liable for product liability for failure to warn people about the dangerous nature of its product as well as trespass, public nuisance, and negligence.
The city presented evidence that ExxonMobil added MTBE to gasoline knowing that it would contaminate groundwater when the gasoline leaked and knowing that underground storage tanks at gas stations, many of which are owned by ExxonMobil, regularly leak.
The City also contended that ExxonMobil ignored warnings from its own scientists and engineers not to use MTBE in areas of the country, like Queens, that use groundwater for drinking water.
ExxonMobil failed to inform government agencies, gasoline station owners, water suppliers, and the public about the dangers from MTBE.
New York State banned MTBE in 2004, after the chemical had polluted groundwater drinking water supplies throughout the state. Some 20 other states have also banned MTBE.

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