Refiners Settle Suit

A group of refiners and petrochemical companies has agreed to pay $120 million for cleaning up a contaminated dump site in Texas, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The second-largest settlement in the history of the federal environmental Superfund program will go to the U.S. government and the State of Texas to cover their cleanup costs, according to Reuters.

The firms accused of wrongdoing include Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell Oil Co., Phillips Petroleum Co., BP Plc-owned Atlantic Richfield Co., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Occidental Chemical Corp., the El Paso Group and Rohm & Haas, a provider of specialty chemicals.

They were a few of the many companies that dumped chemical and oil-based waste at the Sikes Disposal Pits site near Crosby, Texas, in the 1950s and 1960s. The Environmental Protection Agency and Texas began cleaning the site in the early 1990s and completed the project in 1995, the report said.

The U.S. government and Texas sued 14 companies in 1998, accusing them of the dumping at the site. Those firms in turn sued 20 other companies for their part in helping to contaminate the property.

Under the settlement, the U.S. government will receive a reimbursement of $111.3 million, plus interest, and the State of Texas will receive $8.7 million, plus interest, which will go toward their cleanup costs.
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