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BP Plc, Chevron Corp., and ten other oil companies have tentatively agreed to pay $423 million to settle lawsuits in seventeen states, including Virginia, due to contamination claims involving the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). Though it is now banned in most states, MTBE was once used to reduce air pollution by making the gasoline burn more completely in a car’s engine. The companies involved call this settlement a “responsible resolution”. As part of the settlement, the oil companies will fund a thirty-year water treatment program for sites with excessive contamination.


 In many states, wells and aquifers were poisoned when the burned MTBE additive returned to the ground in rainwater. The lawsuit claims the oil companies involved in the lawsuit covered up the data which spoke about the contamination. It is now being estimated that it would cost about $30 billion to treat MTBE contaminated water in the United States. Exxon Mobil Corp., along with five other oil companies and refineries, have not settled.

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