Vermont to Seek Damages in Groundwater Contamination Case

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office today announced it will seek restitution against more than a dozen gasoline refiners responsible for contaminating the state’s groundwater.

The complaint, filed today by Attorney General William H. Sorrell, alleges that some of the largest gas refiners in the nation have contaminated state water supplies with a toxic chemical additive. According to Sorrell, these companies made and sold MTBE despite knowing about the possible environmental impact.

“We believe these companies knew years ago that MTBE was a uniquely bad actor in groundwater, and they ignored the risks and sold it anyway,” said Attorney General William H. Sorrell. “This lawsuit is about holding them accountable and ensuring that they — and not Vermonters — pay to clean up our groundwater.”

Sorrell said the lawsuit protects Vermont’s future. “The State’s groundwater is a precious, finite, and invaluable resource, held in trust for future generations. I take that trust seriously, and this suit aims to ensure that funds are available to protect Vermont’s groundwater, which provides so many Vermonters with their drinking water.”

Weitz & Luxenberg, whose environmental unit helped lead the BP Oil Spill litigation, is one of three firms assisting the state with its case. 

The suit, filed in Washington Superior Court, tabs several defendant companies as having violated the Vermont Groundwater Protection Act, and includes several civil claims including negligence, trespass, and civil conspiracy. 

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