Royal Dutch Shell Groundwater MTBE contamination settlements

Wall Street Journal: Oil Firms Settle Claims In MTBE Leak Cases: 8 May 2008

About a dozen of the nation's largest oil companies agreed to pay $423 million in cash to settle litigation with 153 public water providers in 17 states that sued over groundwater contaminated by the gasoline additive MTBE.

The companies also agreed to pay cleanup costs that arise in the next 30 years. Terms of the deal were submitted for court approval Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.

The companies in the settlement include BP America Inc., a unit of BP PLC; Chevron Corp.; ConocoPhillips; Shell Oil Co., an arm of Royal Dutch Shell PLC; Marathon Oil Corp.; Citgo Petroleum Corp.; Sunoco Inc.; and Valero Energy Corp.

Bloomberg: Chevron, 11 Oil Firms Pay $423 Million in MTBE Suits: 8 May 2008


Chevron Corp., BP Plc and about 10 other oil companies tentatively agreed to pay $423 million to settle lawsuits in 17 states over contamination claims involving the gasoline additive MTBE, once used to reduce air pollution.

Estimates of the cost to treat MTBE contaminated water in the U.S. have reached $30 billion. Wells and aquifers were poisoned when the burned additive, methyl tertiary butyl ether, returned to the ground in rainwater. The plaintiffs said the firms hid data showing MTBE causes ``massive'' contamination.

The settling companies include units of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's biggest oil company, ConocoPhillips, the second- largest U.S. refiner, Marathon Oil Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. oil company, Valero Energy Corp. and Sunoco Inc. Chevron is the second-largest U.S. oil company. BP is Europe's second-largest oil company.

New York Times: Oil Giants to Settle Water Suit: 8 May 2008


The defendants that agreed to the settlement include BP, Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Marathon Oil, Valero Energy, Citgo and Sunoco.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs, which include 153 public water systems in New York, California and 15 other states, claimed that the additive, a chemical called methyl tertiary butyl ether, or M.T.B.E., was a defective product that led to widespread contamination of groundwater. The suit contended that the chemical was used by oil companies, even though they knew of the environmental and health risks that it posed.

Low levels of M.T.B.E. can make drinking water supplies unpalatable because of its “offensive taste and odor,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency has also found that the compound caused cancer in laboratory rats that were exposed to high doses.

Denver Business Journal: Shell, Army reach $35M Arsenal settlement with state: 29 May 2008

Shell Oil Co. and the federal government have agreed to a $35 million payout to settle the state of Colorado's quarter-century-old lawsuit over pollution at the Army's former Rocky Mountain Arsenal on the outskirts of Denver.

An agreement in principal was announced Thursday by Gov. Bill Ritter and state Attorney General John Suthers in a news conference at the state Capitol.

Under the settlement, Shell will provide $21 million in cash and land and the federal government the equivalent of $14 million, including credit for past construction of a water-treatment plant.

"The funding contained in this settlement will provide long-term compensation to the citizens along the South Platte who have been affected by the natural resource damages at the arsenal," Ritter said at the news conference.

Part of the site was leased in 1952 to Shell, which for three decades made pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and other chemicals there.

Under the settlement, $10 million from Shell will be administered by the state's Natural Resource Trustees for restoration projects in the arsenal area.

The Denver Post: Shell, Army OK $35M arsenal-pollution settlement: 29 May 2008

Colorado's quarter century-long legal tussle over groundwater pollution at Rocky Mountain Arsenal ended today with the announcement of a $35 million settlement.

Shell Oil and the U.S. Army — which produced all manner of nasty chemicals from 1942 until 1982 at the arsenal, northeast of downtown Denver — have agreed to pay the state $35 million in damages for polluting groundwater at the arsenal, state Attorney General John Suthers said today.

San Diego Union-Tribune: Colo. gets $35 million from Army, Shell for arsenal cleanup: 29 May 2008

Shell Oil Co., which made pesticides and other chemicals at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, will provide $21 million in cash and land under an agreement announced Thursday to settle a 25-year-old state lawsuit. The Army and the federal government are providing the rest.

Thousands of birds were affected by pesticides at the site. Some 4,100 acre feet of groundwater was contaminated. Badgers and prairie dogs had to be killed because their high levels of poisoning posed a danger to bald eagles that fed on them, said Vicky Peters, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office.

John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., praised the settlement agreement, saying his company was proud to be a part of it.