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Exxon Mobil was found guilty of contaminating groundwater in New York City with M.T.B.E., a substance that makes gas burn cleaner, but also dissolves easily into water. Although health risks from consuming M.T.B.E. are unclear, it causes the water to have an odor and taste so bad that the water is not drinkable! NYC asked for compensation for construction of several water treatment plants to make well water in Queens drinkable. The city was awarded $105 million. A New York Times article quotes the city’s head lawyer, Vic Sher, who said the decision "sends a clear signal that juries have no tolerance for big oil companies whose products pollute drinking water and that these companies have an obligation to take steps to make sure this kind of pollution doesn’t happen."

Unfortunately, Exxon refuses to take responsibility for the pollution. They continue to deny that the M.T.B.E. contamination was caused by them, regardless of the fact that 23 other oil companies have made settlements with the city. Although the money will help prevent citizens from having to pay for the water treatment, it’s too bad that Exxon disregards our environment and the health of their customers. Water is a precious resource and we–including Exxon–must take care of it!

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