New York City Jury Orders Exxon Mobil to Pay $105 Million in Damages for Contaminated Groundwater

Oct. 20, 2009
City wins lawsuit blaming Exxon for harmful additive in Queens drinking water supply

Exxon Mobil must pay the City of New York $104.7 million in damages after a jury determined on Oct. 19 that the oil giant’s use of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) contributed to the contamination of groundwater in Queens, New York, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The lawsuit also alleged that Exxon Mobil did not heed the advice of its own experts who warned not to use MTBE--a gasoline additive--in areas where the public consumes groundwater for drinking.

Further, the Wall Street Journal reported, the lawsuit claimed that Exxon Mobil did not disclose the dangers of MTBE to the public, governmental agencies or industry professionals in water supply and gasoline service. As of 2004, the Wall Street Journal said, the use of MTBE is banned in New York State, according to city officials.

"Our water supply is one of our most vital resources--and we will work to protect it and go after those who damage it," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement.

Exxon Mobil denies any wrongdoing in the case.

"As we've maintained throughout, our service stations were not the source of the MTBE contamination at the Station 6 wells; and the city's own principal expert identified three non-Exxon Mobil sources," said a company spokesman in a statement. "We do not believe we should be required to compensate the City of New York for someone else's contamination."

Source: Wall Street Journal

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