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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/22/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Company contaminated Queens drinking wells with additive MTBE in 2009

They were found guilty way back in 2009 and now must pay for their transgressions. The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to overturn a $105 million verdict against Exxon Mobil for contaminating drinking wells in the New York City borough of Queens.

MTBE is an oxygen-containing substance that is added to gasoline to promote more complete combustion and reduce air pollution.

MTBE is an oxygen-containing substance that is added to gasoline to promote more complete combustion and reduce air pollution.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/22/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Exxon Mobil, Queens, MTBE, verdict


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The justices declined comment on their decision. Exxon Mobil had appealed the 2009 verdict that New York City had won for the costs of removing a gasoline additive known as MTBE from Queens' wells.

The city had argued that the company ignored warnings from its own scientists and engineers to not use the additive in areas that use groundwater for drinking. In response, Exxon Mobil argued that the city's alleged injuries were too speculative. They also said that MTBE was by far the safest additive to comply with a federal mandate.

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The appeals court rejected Exxon's arguments that it was required to use the additive under the federal Clean Air Act. MTBE is an oxygen-containing substance that is added to gasoline to promote more complete combustion and reduce air pollution. The additive was one of several additives recommended by regulators to reduce emissions.

MTBE has now largely been fazed out of the U.S. fuel supply because of its danger to groundwater. MTBE has been identified as an animal carcinogen and a possible human carcinogen and causes water to smell foul and taste bad.

The New York case, known as Exxon Mobil v. City of New York, U.S. Supreme Court, 13-842 was intended serve as a bellwether case to provide guidance for other MTBE complaints that have been brought around the country.

The water wells in southeast Queens that were contaminated serve as a backup supply for the city's drinking water when the reservoirs upstate go offline because of repairs or droughts.

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