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ExxonMobil agrees to $8.05 million settlement for Ogdensburg oil clean-up

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OGDENSBURG — The state attorney general’s office has agreed to an $8.05 million settlement with the ExxonMobil Oil Corp. for the clean-up of an oil storage facility in the city of Ogdensburg in 2006 and 2007.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the settlement, which will reimburse the state for costs for the site’s clean up of the major oil storage facility in Ogdensburg on a peninsula along the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie Rivers, known as Lighthouse Point.

The financial settlement will go toward the costs incurred by the state’s Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund — commonly known as the oil spill fund — in the state comptroller’s office to investigate and remediate the oil spill in Ogdensburg.

From the late 1800s to 1984, ExxonMobil or its antecedent companies owned and operated the facility, composed of a barge dock facility for the receipt of 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.

On July 6, 2001, petroleum contamination was discovered at the site when an environmental assessment found 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 main terminal facility and near underground pipelines connecting the terminal to the Oswegatchie River.

“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,” Mr. Schneiderman said a press release. “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.”

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. About eight billion gallons of petroleum were distributed from the terminal on an annual basis to tanker trucks for retail distribution during its operation.

The cleanup of the site occurred from the fall of 2006 through the fall of 2007. It was overseen by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and paid for by the oil spill fund.

As the administrator of the fund, the state comptroller referred the matter to the attorney general’s office. The settlement was reached in Albany County Supreme Court on Nov. 14.

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.

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