Tuesday, April 9, 2013
A jury in New Hampshire has found ExxonMobil liable in a long-running lawsuit over groundwater contamination by the gasoline additive MTBE. The oil giant could pay hundreds of millions of dollars to clean it up. The jury must now deliberate the cost of damages.
Jurors sat through nearly three months of testimony in the longest state trial in New Hampshire history, but deliberated for only 90 minutes.
The state seeks $236 million to monitor and remediate groundwater contaminated by MTBE -- which travels farther and faster in groundwater than gasoline without the additive.
Lawyers for Exxon Mobil say the company used MTBE to meet federal Clean Air Act mandates to reduce air pollution and should not be held liable for sites contaminated by unnamed third parties, such as junk yard owners and independent gas station owners.
Jurors had more than 400 exhibits to sift through, including memos and reports dating back decades.