Contact l Sitemap

home industries issues reasearch weblog press

Home  » Industries » Energy

USA: City Sues Big Oil for Millions Over Polluted Drinking Water

by Timna TannersReuters
June 21st, 2000

SANTA MONICA -- The California beach city of Santa Monica is suing 18 oil companies for damages that could exceed $200 million, claiming that the firms polluted drinking water wells with the possibly cancer-causing gasoline additive MTBE.

The companies being sued include Royal Dutch/Shell Oil, Texaco, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Tosco, Ultramar Diamond Shamrock and Unocal.

Santa Monica city officials said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had estimated costs could total $200 million to clean up the contamination from MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether.

MTBE, a key component of California's clean-burning gasoline, fell out of favour recently when a study found it contaminated ground water supplies and could cause cancer.

California Gov. Gray Davis has ordered its ban as of 2002. Santa Monica Mayor Ken Genser said that for decades the city had provided drinking water from its own wells.

"Now thanks to the oil industry, the city no longer can use most of its drinking water," he said in a statement. "The time has come for the oil industry to pay for the clean-up of its pollution and for the city to regain use of its most precious natural resource-drinking water."

The city, which borders Los Angeles, said oil companies walked away from negotiating a clean-up plan earlier this year, after MTBE was found to have seeped into city drinking wells.





This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.