Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that three petroleum conglomerates agreed to pay the State of New Jersey a total of $196.5 million to resolve their liability for damage to the environment and injury to natural resources caused by a gasoline additive known as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).
Defendant Sunoco – including Sunoco, Inc. and Sunoco, Inc. (R&M) – has already paid the State $64 million to resolve its liability for MTBE damages.
Defendant BP – including BP America Inc., BP Amoco Chemical Company, BP Corporation North America Inc., BP Products North America Inc. and Atlantic Richfield Company – has agreed in a separate settlement to pay $64 million, and has already paid the State $32 million.
Defendant Shell — including Equilon Enterprises, Motiva Enterprises, Shell Oil Company, Shell Oil Products Company and Shell Trading (US) Company – has agreed to pay $68.5 million.
Notice of the three proposed settlements was previously published in the New Jersey Register, Grewal said. All three settlements were subject to a public comment period, and all three have been reviewed and approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
“These are important legal settlements on behalf of New Jersey citizens — not only in terms of the dollars, but in terms of sending a message that we are committed to working with DEP to protect our State’s natural resources and hold accountable companies that pollute,” said the AG.
Sunoco, BP and Shell were among nearly 50 companies named in a June 2007 lawsuit in which the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection sued oil and chemical companies for damages to New Jersey’s groundwater resulting from their manufacture, blending and distribution of MTBE.
The defendants include major petroleum refiners, distributors and sellers of gasoline in New Jersey, as well as independent chemical manufacturers of MTBE.
DEP’s lawsuit alleged that MTBE was detected in groundwater at sites throughout the State.
With the three settlements announced today, the Division of Law has obtained more than $350 million in settlements with defendant companies in the MTBE litigation.
DEP continues to pursue its MTBE damage claims against the remaining defendants who have not settled, including ExxonMobil.