Exxon Mobil Corp. has agreed to pay $10.75 million to cover the cost of eight oil spill cleanups in New York, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced. Schneiderman, along with State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, said that the settlement with Exxon Mobil Corp. and ExxonMobil Oil Corp. will reimburse the New York Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund – with interest – for oil spill cleanup and petroleum pollution remediation costs at eight locations in the state. Schneiderman said in a statement:
Oil spills are costly and dangerous to our communities. This settlement ensures that the state will not be forced to foot the bill to clean up hazardous oil spills that must be cleaned up to keep our families safe.
Under the agreement, ExxonMobil will take over all future remediation activities at four of the eight sites where the cleanup efforts are ongoing or reimburse the oil spill fund for any additional remediation expenses that are incurred. The spill sites were operated as gas stations, some of which dated back to the 1930s, Schneiderman’s office said in a statement. The spill fund is used to help clean up petroleum spills, compensate spill victims for financial losses in case the responsible party won’t, and to seek reimbursement from polluters for cleanup costs.
The fund was set up in 1978 and is financed mainly by fees levied on barrels of oil imported into the state, as well as amounts collected in cost recovery actions. The fund began paying for remediation of the oldest of the spill locations in 1989. DiNapoli said in a statement:
This settlement transfers the responsibility of eight oil spill cleanups from taxpayers to the spiller, where it belongs. The oil spill fund is designed to help protect our families and our communities from the consequences of oil spills, because New Yorkers shouldn’t have to bear the burden of these costs.
In August, a New Jersey state court judge approved the state’s $225 million settlement with ExxonMobil for the cleanup of pollution from oil refineries in that state. Separately, New Hampshire is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve a $236 million trial judgment against ExxonMobil in the state’s long-running case accusing it of groundwater contamination. New Hampshire won the judgment in 2013 against ExxonMobil over its use of the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE. Around $195 million of the judgment meant for future cleanups was locked in a trust, but the New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed that ruling on Oct. 2, ordering the funds be released to the state.
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