Legal representation for the state of Pennsylvania recently filled two consecutive lawsuits with the Philadelphia Court against multiple undisclosed large oil and fuel producers over environmental damage caused by a chemical additive called Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) which has been widely used in gasoline. Like several of the other states, the Pennsylvania lawsuit alleges that oil companies knew the risks MTBE posed to groundwater, but still used it as an additive. The state of New York successfully argued a similar case against Exxon for the contamination of New York City wells, where Exxon was awarded $104.7 million against them after the case was found in favor of the state.
Pennsylvania is looking to win reimbursement for millions of dollars worth of state funds which had to be reallocated to cleaning up gasoline spills. The attorney general’s statement describing the motives and intended outcome of the lawsuit as a pursuit to recover millions of dollars paid by the state to clean up “the widespread pollution and harm done to Pennsylvania’s waters” caused by gasoline containing the MTBE additive.
The state will also seek compensation for the loss of groundwater use and damages to environmental resources. Furthermore, the case asserts that oil companies participated in unfair and deceptive trade practices and marketing of MTBE and MTBE gasoline, and is seeking regulatory action.
Oils companies have been utilizing the MTBE as an additive in gasoline to allegedly help gas burn more efficiently since the 1970s. However, producers stopped incorporating the additive in some areas in 2005. According to the attorney general, more than three thousand gasoline releases have occurred from underground storage tanks at petroleum facilities across Pennsylvania, since the early 1990s. Over 75 percent of these spills, leaks and escapes involved MTBE gasoline, which is substantially more difficult to clean and eradicate than gasoline not treated with MTBE.
Environmental impact is consistently on the forefront of social, political and economic agendas, as awareness about fuels usages, omissions and other hazards continues to rise. Businesses across every industry are increasingly exposed to regulatory fees, changes and violations as policies are altered and research continues to surface. Fuel manufactures, transporters, carriers, retailers and even consumers all face great risks when utilizing oil and gasoline. These products are highly toxic, flammable and have devastating effects on natural resources. When improperly stored, these fuels pose a huge liability threat. However, fossil fuels are not the only environmental hazards many businesses come in contact with throughout their operation. Chemical cleaners and solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, lubricants for machinery, electronic waster and omissions are all common environmental hazards. Most businesses do not even realize that their operation could be violating or someday might violate ever changing environmental regulations. One of the best precautions for any local business is obtaining a Bucks County Pollution Liability addition to your current Business Insurance policy.
At Tri-State Insurance Agency we offer the most comprehensive Business Insurance solutions in the Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey area. Our Pennsylvania Pollution Liability coverage can protect your business from expensive losses if accused of or found responsible for pollution-related damage, injuries or illness. We proudly extend this coverage to many industry segments, including contractors, transportation, real estate, manufacturers, landscapers, food-related enterprises, agricultural businesses and more, as no operation is without some level of environmental impact. For more information about any of our offerings, call us today at (888) 990-0526.