ExxonMobil settles hazardous waste case for $11.2M
One of the United States’ biggest hazardous waste cases has been settled, with ExxonMobil agreeing to pay $11.2 million. The case, filed in 1996, charged the company with mismanaging benzene-contaminated wastes at Port Mobil, a major storage and distribution terminal on Staten Island, New York.
This settlement includes an $8.2 million civil penalty, one of the largest such penalties ever obtained under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Benzene, a known human carcinogen, has been regulated as a hazardous waste under the RCRA since 1990.
The rest of the settlement, $3 million, will be used to purchase or restore environmentally sensitive lands in the New York City area and to fund a cleanup of Port Mobil after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts a study of the site.
In the early 1990s, Mobil discharged hazardous wastes, including benzene, into two large artificial ponds on the site without a permit or the protections required by law. Benzene levels 20 times the legal limit were found there, and Mobil engineers were shown to have manipulated previous tests to give a lower level of benzene.
Documents also showed how Mobil calculated that avoiding federal hazardous waste regulation would save the company millions of dollars in cleanup costs.