Attorney General Announces $39 Million Settlement With ConocoPhillips Company over MTBE Contamination

TRENTON – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced today that the ConocoPhillips Company has agreed to pay the State $39 million to resolve its liability for damage to the environment and injury to natural resources caused by a gasoline additive known as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).

The proposed settlement, approved by a U.S. District Court Judge in New York on Tuesday, resolves litigation against ConocoPhillips brought by the Division of Law on behalf of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

ConocoPhillips was one of nearly 50 companies named in a June 2007 lawsuit in which the State sued numerous oil and chemical companies for damages to New Jersey’s ground water as a result of the defendants’ manufacture, blending and distribution of MTBE. The defendants include major petroleum refiners, distributors and sellers of gasoline in New Jersey, and independent chemical manufacturers of MTBE.

The State’s lawsuit alleged that MTBE was detected in groundwater at sites throughout the State. With this settlement, the Division of Law has obtained nearly $157 million in settlements with defendant companies in the MTBE litigation.

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