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Pa. Sues Over Gasoline Additive Contamination

(credit: Mike Dougherty)

(credit: Mike Dougherty)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Lawyers for Governor Corbett and Attorney General Kathleen Kane have filed a lawsuit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court seeking relief from widespread water pollution caused by a gasoline additive used prior to 2005.

Joshua Maus, spokesman for the Governor’s Office of General Counsel, says the lawsuit seeks money for costs of clean-up, damage to water resources, and deceptive trade practices related to gasoline containing the additive MTBE released from underground storage tanks.

“The lawsuit alleges that the oil companies knew of MTBE’s unprecedented risk to groundwater, but used it as an additive in gasoline sold in Pennsylvania.”

Maus says gasoline containing MTBE is much more difficult to mitigate than gasoline without it.

“MTBE is more persistent and mobile in groundwater, increases the size, complexity, duration, costs of MTBE gasoline clean-ups, many of which continue to this day.”

A second lawsuit claims that companies “double-dipped” by receiving insurance compensation for cleaning up gasoline spills while at the same time collecting from a state fund to pay for clean-up costs. Maus says the two lawsuits seek to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars.

Maus says the lawsuits were filed in Philadelphia because the court system is equipped to handle cases of this complexity.

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