Sunoco Will Pay $2.2M to Settle Hazardous Waste Dispute in Mass.

April 10, 2012

Sunoco, a petroleum and petrochemical manufacturing giant, will pay $2.2 million in Massachusetts to resolve a hazardous waste dispute.

The company was alleged to have sought payment from a state fund for hazardous waste cleanup, while at the same time also seeking and obtaining reimbursement from its insurers, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley.

The state’s fund for hazardous waste cleanup is called Massachusetts Underground Storage Tank Petroleum Product Cleanup Fund program (UST Fund).

The fund was established to expedite the cleanup of environmentally dangerous leaks from underground storage tanks — such as those found at gasoline stations — by reimbursing owners and operators for expenses incurred in their response. Massachusetts charges tank registration and delivery fees to fund the program.

The UST fund’s regulations stipulate that claimants must disclose if they sought reimbursement from another source including insurance for expenses they submit to the UST fund. If claimants do recover money from both insurance and the fund for the same expenses, they must pay back the UST fund.

Sunoco Allegedly Sought Payment From Both UST Fund, Insurance

But Attorney General Coakley said Sunoco failed to disclose its insurance coverage litigation and settlements reached between 1997 and 2001, even as it sought and obtained reimbursements from the UST Fund program.

Under the settlement agreement, Sunoco will pay $970,000 to the fund and $1.23 million to the state’s Commonwealth’s General Fund. Sunoco cooperated fully with the attorney general’s investigation, Coakley said.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Alex Klibaner, Amy Nable and Legal Analyst Bella Zaslavsky with assistance from Division Chief Glenn Kaplan, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Gendron and Legal Analyst Melissa Swindel, all from Attorney General Coakley’s insurance and financial services division.

 

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