Pennsylvania has filed two lawsuits against against major oil companies, seeking reimbursements for state funds used to clean up spills in the commonwealth as well as damages for harm to the state's natural resources.
The commonwealth is “seeking relief for the widespread pollution and harm done to Pennsylvania’s waters caused by gasoline containing the additive known as MTBE, and reimbursement for misuse of the Pennsylvania Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund (USTIF),” the Governor’s Office said.
The lawsuits were filed Thursday in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Gov. Tom Corbett’s General Counsel James Schultz.
“When we entrust the Commonwealth to the hands of others we expect that they will care for it as we do, however, when companies pollute something so precious as our water this cannot and will not be overlooked,” Kane.
There have been more than 3,000 leaks or spills from underground storage tanks in Pennsylvania since 1994, the Governor’s Office said.
One lawsuit is specific to spills involving the additive MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, which was phased out in Pennsylvania in 2005.
“MTBE-related spills over the past 20 years have cost Pennsylvania hundreds of millions of dollars,” Schultz said.
The second lawsuit seeks reimbursement of funds paid out by Pennsylvania Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund to 36 named defendants. The suit claims the defendants in fact were not eligible for the payouts.