Kan. refinery sued over oil spill

Kathy Woods Oct. 11, 2009, 12:25pm

COFFEYVILLE, Kan. (Legal Newsline)-Three Kansas business owners have filed a lawsuit against Coffeyville Resources Refining and Marketing, alleging that refinery workers left open an oil tanker valve which created a spill.

The lawsuit claims that the refinery is liable since weather reports the day before the incident warned of the impeding flood of the Verdigris River.

The business owners say if the valve on the tank had been closed the water would not have been able to mix with the oil, causing the contaminated muck to run downstream.

The refinery should have taken proper precautions to prevent this disaster, they claim.

The valve being left open was the cause of 90,000 gallons of crude oil, diesel, and other pollutants to flow downstream causing damage to these businesses.

The federal claim states that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found sheens of oil 10 miles downriver and results of tests run on the muck showed the presence of toxic substances, including carcinogenic benzene.

The toxic substances that remained after the water receded made moving back into their place of business a substantial hardship. The lawsuit claims that the environmental disaster "resulted in substantial downtime and loss of profits."

The plaintiffs -- RBK Manufacturing, JC Pump Co. and J.D. Cook Inc. --
are claiming damage to their businesses, loss of income- profits- and earnings.

They are also asking for removal and remediation costs. They are seeking $3.2 million in actual damages plus punitive damages.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
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