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South Lake Tahoe

The last of a large number of companies has settled with South Lake Tahoe officials in a lawsuit stemming from the pollution of the local groundwater. Shell Oil Company and Texaco Inc. settled with officials for $28 million dollars, while a local gas station agreed to pay $300 000. The final settlements bring the sum total of all settlements in connection to the South Lake Tahoe groundwater pollution to $69 million. The suit was filed in 1998 against many chemical and oil and gas companies when it was discovered that the chemical MTBE, a gasoline additive used to curb emissions, had contaminated groundwater in the South Lake Tahoe area. The contamination was blamed on underground gasoline storage tanks at gas stations, which were called "faulty" by the Oxygenated Fuel Association. MTBE creates a distinctive taste in water, although it is not entirely clear whether or not the chemical is harmful to humans in low-dosages. It has been found to be carcinogenic if inhaled. Some of the other companies who had agreed to settlements earlier include Unocal Corp., Lyondell Chemical Corp, Atlantic Richfield Co. and another company, Equilon Enterprises, which is run by both Shell Oil Co., as well as Texaco Inc. (Aug-05-02) [SACRAMENTO BUSINESS JOURNAL]

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Published on Apr-23-05


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