Court Approves Exxon Mobil’s $25M Settlement for Pollution in Puerto Rico Drinking Water

Exxon Mobil Corporation and Esso Standard Oil Company have resolved claims filed against them by Puerto Rico after Judge Silvia L. Carreno-Coll signed a judgment approving the $25 million settlement and consent decree between the parties over allegations that the companies polluted Puerto Rico’s drinking water with gasoline additives. 

The District of Puerto Rico lawsuit began in 2007 and another lawsuit was filed with similar allegations in 2013. Puerto Rico alleged that these two plaintiffs, along with others including Shell, Motiva, Chevron, and Texaco, knew that their products would pollute the environment but continued to sell them anyway. Specifically, the Puerto Rican government alleged that methyl tertiary butyl, a specific additive, entered the groundwater because it was being stored in underground tanks. 

Under the agreement, the $25 million payment will be given in five parts, one within a month of the settlement and the others at the beginning of each quarter for the next year. Exxon Mobil also agreed to create a program to investigate and clean up pollution from its actions at various locations around Puerto Rico. 

The motion asking the court to enter its judicial consent order explained that the parties have been participating in settlement negotiations for over five years. The parties also said that none of the co-defendants will be prejudiced by the settlement. 

Puerto Rico is represented by its Department of Justice, Orlando H. Martinez Law Offices, and the Law Offices of John K. Dema P.C. Exxon Mobil and Esso are represented by O’Neill & Borges LLC, Archer & Greiner P.C., and McDermott Will & Emery LLP.