DJ New York State AG Sues Exxon Mobil Over Brooklyn Oil Spill

Source: Dow Jones Newswires, July 17, 2007
By: Matthew Dalton

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sued Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) on Tuesday to force a cleanup of oil and hazardous waste dumped into a creek that divides the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, said Exxon hasn’t moved fast enough to clean up oil and petroleum waste that was discovered in 1978 leaking from its former refinery and now-inactive storage facility in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn into Newtown Creek. The lawsuit claims the spill at one point totaled 17-million gallons, much bigger than the 11-million-gallon spill from the Exxon Valdez in Alaska.

“Exxon Mobil – the largest, most-profitable oil corporation in the world – has continually refused to accept responsibility for what is one of the worst environmental disasters in the nation’s history,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The lawsuit also seeks “damages for injuries to the affected natural resources; and substantial financial penalties.”

A spokesman for Exxon didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

Cuomo sent a letter to Exxon Mobil in February warning of a lawsuit. “We’ve reached a juncture with them where the only avenue to pursue is a lawsuit,” said Jeffrey Lerner, a spokesman for the attorney general.

Cuomo sent similar letters to Chevron Corp. (CVX), Keyspan Corp. (KSE) and Phelps Dodge Corp. (PD), although he has yet to act against those companies.

“Conversations are ongoing with them,” Lerner said.

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