Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean...
Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), the California non-profit environmental health and justice organization, announced a historic multi-million-dollar settlement with Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. that will provide cleaner water for all Californians.
Under the agreement by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer, Exxon Mobil has agreed to upgrade gas stations, clean up groundwater contamination and enact other changes to its gasoline distribution system in order to protect California drinking water.
The settlement is the first in CBE's multimillion-dollar lawsuit seeking to force the oil industry to clean up more than 1,000 underground storage tanks and refinery leaks, which are responsible for contaminating potential sources of drinking water throughout California.
Among other provisions in the agreement, Exxon Mobil has agreed to 1.) install and maintain remote fuel monitoring systems at all California ExxonMobil gas stations; 2.) implement a five-year program to inspect each underground storage tank system at ExxonMobil gas stations in California at least three times; 3.) replace all underground storage tank systems at ExxonMobil gas stations in California that have single-wall tanks and single- wall lines with double-wall tanks and double-wall lines; and 4.) conduct monthly inspections of above ground pipes and storage tanks at Exxon Mobil's Torrance Refinery and three other terminals.
"CBE is happy that Exxon Mobil agreed to implement these important measures that will help protect drinking water, prevent leaks, and clean up existing contamination," says Scott Kuhn, CBE's Legal Director. "This agreement helps protect the state's precious water supply."
CBE was represented by attorneys from Baron & Budd of Dallas, The Law Offices of Masry & Vititoe of Westlake Village, Calif., and Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack of Los Angeles.
"This is a great day for every Californian," says Baron & Budd partner Scott Summy, who served as CBE's lead counsel. "The benefits of the agreement with Exxon Mobil will extend for many generations."
During a recent status conference, Judge Kramer described the settlement as beneficial to everyone in the state.
"It's a very creative solution," Judge Kramer said. "I think it's a very useful solution. And I think the beneficiaries here are the people of the State of California."
CBE's lawsuit -- CBE, et al. v. Tosco Corp., et al., No. 300595 -- alleges unfair competition and violations of California's Proposition 65, which voters adopted in 1986 as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. ChevronTexaco Corp., BP Arco, Shell Oil Co., and other oil companies remain as defendants in the case.