New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced an $8.05 million settlement with ExxonMobil Oil Corporation, which will reimburse the state for costs incurred by the New York Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund (Oil Spill Fund) within the Office of the State Comptroller to investigate and remediate an oil spill in Ogdensburg.
“It’s only right that corporations who jeopardize the sanctity of New York’s natural resources should have to pay for the damage they caused,” Schneiderman said in a November 22 statement. “Through today’s agreement, we’re not only returning millions to the state but also holding ExxonMobil responsible for their role in this oil spill. My office is glad to have secured the best deal for New Yorkers and for our environment.”
From the late 1800s to 1984, ExxonMobil owned and operated a major oil storage facility in Ogdensburg on a peninsula along the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie rivers known as Lighthouse Point (the spill site). The ExxonMobil facility was composed of a barge dock facility for receiving petroleum deliveries by barge on the Oswegatchie River on the eastern part of the peninsula, and the Main Terminal on the western side of the peninsula.
The Main Terminal contained seven above-ground tanks that stored gasoline, diesel, fuel oil and kerosene, a truck loading rack and 1,500 feet of subsurface pipelines that connected the barge dock facility to the Main Terminal. Approximately 8 billion gallons of petroleum were distributed from the terminal on an annual basis to tanker trucks for retail distribution during its operation.
On July 6, 2001, petroleum contamination was discovered at the spill site when an environmental assessment encountered contaminated soil on a parcel adjacent to the Main Terminal. Following the report of the spill, an investigation revealed widespread petroleum contamination in and around the former ExxonMobil Main Terminal facility and near underground pipelines connecting the terminal to the Oswegatchie River.
The cleanup of the spill site occurred from the fall of 2006 through the fall of 2007. It was overseen by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and paid for by the Oil Spill Fund.
As the administrator of the Oil Spill Fund, the Office of the State Comptroller referred this matter to the Office of the Attorney General. The settlement was reached in Albany County Supreme Court on November 14, 2013.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Thomas J. Schrempf in the Oil Spill Unit of the Civil Recoveries Bureau of the Attorney General’s Office. The case was supervised by Bonnie J. Riggi, Section Chief of the Oil Spill Unit.