As part of its settlement with the office of Attorney General, ExxonMobil Corporation committed to perform a full clean up of its oil spill as well as any related environmental contamination in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The massive spill has been a source of contamination in the Greenpoint community for decades. The settlement was filed in Federal Court in the Eastern District and requires ExxonMobil to pay for the costs of cleaning up the Greenpoint oil spill.
The settlement requires ExxonMobil to conduct a comprehensive cleanup of its oil and related contamination at its Greenpoint facility and in the surrounding community, including oil floating on top of the water table, contaminated groundwater, soil as well as soil vapors. The settlement requires ExxonMobil to keep the cleanup moving forward expeditiously, including specific milestones such as:
The company must also pay approximately $25 million for penalties, costs and improving the local environment. This amount includes a payment of $19.5 million for environmental projects that will benefit the Greenpoint community, which is the largest single payment of its kind in New York’s history.
In the late 1970s, oil spills from ExxonMobil’s Greenpoint refinery and storage facility were discovered seeping into Newtown Creek, creating a plume of oil floating on top of the water table. Some of the oil dissolved in the groundwater and contaminated surrounding soil. It is estimated that at least 17 million gallons of oil were released underneath Greenpoint and that at least 55 acres of the community are now contaminated as a result.
The approximately $25 million that ExxonMobil will pay under the settlement will be distributed as follows:
- $19.5 million will fund “Environmental Benefit Projects” that will benefit the environment in Greenpoint.
- $1.5 million will go to New York State to compensate for past cleanup costs related to the spill.
- $3.5 million will be available for future oversight costs.
- $250,000 in penalties will be deposited in New York’s Oil Spill Cleanup Fund and Marine Resources Account.
- $250,000 in damages will be used to fund projects to compensate for the damaged natural resources in Greenpoint.
An independent outreach coordinator will be hired to ensure community participation in identifying priorities for the local environmental benefits projects to be funded.
This settlement with ExxonMobil does not incorporate the investigation and cleanup of Newtown Creek because it is a federally-designated Superfund site and is therefore being addressed by the Federal government. The state does, however, reserve all of it rights with respect to the Newtown Creek.
This settlement will resolve claims from a lawsuit the Office of Attorney General initiated against ExxonMobil in July 2007 for their violation of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the federal Clean Water Act, and state law with respect to the Greenpoint oil spill.