City sues ExxonMobil


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440 Jefferson St. to Exxon: "Clean me!" attorney Dennis Herrera is on a roll these days. Gay marriage out of the way, he’s now moved on to the largest corporation in the world. Hot.

The city is suing ExxonMobil for its “defiant refusal to address environmental damage caused by decades of disposal and release of hazardous petroleum products on property owned by the Port of San Francisco in the City's Fisherman's Wharf area,” according to a press release.

Mobil Oil operated a fueling facility at 440 Jefferson St. on Fisherman’s Wharf for 54 years. Documentation of leaks and spills from the site dates back to 1986, when a 1000-gallon underground fuel tank was removed. The company formally agreed to remediate the site in 1994. The city’s suit alleges they haven’t.

“The contamination is injurious to the environment, is offensive to the senses, and obstructs the free use, development and comfortable enjoyment of the city’s property,” states the 20-page complaint. [PDF]

You tell ‘em, Dennis. That area is long overdue for some comfortable enjoyment. The complaint outlines a tedious back and forth between the city, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and ExxonMobil, on getting that shit cleaned up – all to no avail.

“There’s a whole history of broken promises,” said city attorney spokesperson Matt Dorsey. “It’s certainly within the means of ExxonMobil Corporation to remediate the environmental damage its responsible for.”

Currently worth $501.17 billion, the oil company may soon be reaping new profits as a result of no-bid Iraqi oil contracts to be granted to it, Shell, Chevron, and others, at the end of this month. (One under emphasized result of ousting Saddam Hussein is that a state-controlled resource is now open to the free market.)

Dorsey said of the relationship with ExxonMobil, “We had an agreement in 1994. I would leave it to ExxonMobil for the rationale on why it takes 14 years to clean up a site.”

A call to ExxonMobil seeking an answer to that question hasn’t been returned.

The company doesn’t have a great track record on cleaning up their messes or paying for them: they still haven’t coughed up the $2.5 billion they owe for the Valdez spill in Alaska.

They also continue to stand by the “we’ll believe it when we see it argument” when it comes to global warming. That is – when they’re not busy funding skeptics to deliberately obfuscate the truth of the matter.