U.S. must pay Exxon $20.3M for share in Wartime environmental pollution cleanup

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The United States government is responsible for some of the costs incurred and will continue to incur by ExxonMobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) in cleaning up the environmental pollution caused by its production of aviation gas and rubber during World War II and the Korean War.

On August 19, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ruled that the U.S. must reimburse Exxon $20.3 million for its share in the costs in wartime environmental pollution cleanup.

Why U.S. gov’t. is liable for a portion of wartime environmental pollution cleanup?

In her ruling, Chief Judge Rosenthal explained that the U.S. government “exerted substantial control” over the refineries owned by Exxon in Baytown, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

During World War II and the Korean War, Exxon converted both refineries to produce aviation gas and synthetic rubber. The corporation operated the refineries under wartime contracts with the U.S. government. At the time, the company and the federal government’s priority was to fulfill the needs of the military to win the war.