N.H. AG Sues Shell to Recover $2.4 Million
Published in CSP Daily News
Says oil company, rather than OOD Fund, should have paid for cleaning up sites
CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster said that his office has filed a lawsuit against Shell Oil Co. The petition filed in Merrimack County Superior Court alleges that over the past 25 years, the state's Oil Discharge & Disposal Cleanup Fund (ODD Fund), paid more than $2.4 million for cleanups at Shell's historically owned sites, cleanups for which Shell should have been financially responsible under Mew Hampshire state law.
The suit is part of a "nationwide array of claims in a series of settlements worth more than $414 million," court documents said.
New Hampshire established the ODD Fund in 1988 to provide a source of funds for the cleanup of discharges of oil from underground and bulk storage tanks. The fund serves as excess insurance and reimburses tank owners for their cleanup costs to the extent the costs exceed any available insurance coverage. It is funded by a fee imposed on all imported oil.
The lawsuit asks that the court find Shell liable and order Shell to return the money and pay interest, costs and other damages to New Hampshire.
It claims that Shell "never told the fund that it had insurance coverage for these leaks or even disclosed the existence of potential coverage," according to the court documents. "That was a critical omission."
It added that "because Shell deliberately misled the fund into reimbursing expenses which should not have been reimbursed ... the fund has filed this lawsuit to recover its expenditures."
The fund is also seeking interest, attorneys fees and damages.
The stations are located in Hampton, Nashua (4), Salem, Manchester (2), Hooksett, Dover, Hanover and Concord, said a report by The Salem Patch.