It is hopeful that the senate will continue to oppose any excuses for the companies responsible for the pollution of ground water by MTBE. Please contact your senator and make sure they continue this battle against corruption.
Getting Away With It :: link
By Erik Kancler
May 24, 2005
Since the late 1970s, gasoline producers have been adding a fuel additive known as Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether, or MTBE, to American car fuel. Its use rose steadily through the late 1990s, part of an effort to create cleaner-burning gasoline and improve the general air quality. But as a result of leaky underground fuel-storage tanks, MTBE has found its way into the water supply of over 45 million Americans. Although the substance itself isn't considered a health hazard, it does help transport known carcinogens like benzene that otherwise wouldn't pose a threat to humans. What’s more, a few drops of MTBE can make an entire water supply undrinkable. The cost to clean up public water supplies across the country has been estimated at $30 billion.
Seventeen states have now voted to ban the use of MTBE in gasoline, but the battle over phasing it out nationwide has been held up in Congress by disagreements over who should pay for the mess. Companies responsible for MTBE pollution are counting on congressional allies, not least House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, to make sure things stay that way.
In late 2001, the California Supreme Court heard a case, South Lake Tahoe Public Utility District vs. Atlantic Richfield Co., to determine whether twelve oil and gas companies—including ARCO, Shell Oil, and Lyondell—knowingly distributed MTBE-laced gasoline that they knew would contaminate drinking water and pose health risks for millions of Americans. During the trial, a slew of incriminating documents and depositions forced the oil companies to admit they had deliberately kept the dangers of MTBE secret, even as they were lobbying Congress to draft laws that would increase production of fuel laden with the stuff. Caught in the act, the twelve defendants finally agreed to pay $69 million in cleanup costs. In 2003, 18 companies were again brought to court by the city of Santa Monica, and eventually settled for what would ultimately amount to close to $300 million in cleanup costs. A precedent was being set.