Madigan latest AG to strike oil in petroleum-leak lawsuits

By Legal News Line | Mar 13, 2007

Lisa Madigan

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois's Lisa Madigan might soon be the next attorney general to find that gasoline can be pricey even if it never touches a car's gas tank. Madigan recently sued gasoline storage company Buckeye Partners L.P. over the leakage of more than 140,000 gallons of gasoline. The release is reported to have occurred at an uncapped pipe. The attorney general alleges that the leak occurred at a time of day when the operations at the company's Harristown Terminal were not supervised or monitored. The leak, which occurred in June 2006, eventually drained into a nearby creek, Madigan charges. Madigan stated that the Harristown leak "required considerable time and expense by authorities to clean up, and to test private wells in the vicinity to ensure public safety." Neighboring Iowa's attorney general, Tom Miller, recently launched a similar suit against Wisconsin-based Bulk Petroleum Corporation over underground gasoline leakages. Miller alleges that 61 of the company's tanks at 17 retail gas stations sprung leaks due to corrosion. And there are likely to be plenty more lawsuits where these came from. The General Accounting Office (GAO) recently stated that, as of 2005, the country had some 117,000 faulty petroleum-storage tanks and expected to find another 16,700 by 2010, according to a recent editorial posted on pennlive.com. The GAO says some $10 billion has already been spent cleaning up gasoline leaks and expects a further $12 billion will be needed. Madigan's suit aims to require Buckeye Partners to reimburse all the Illinois EPA's cleanup costs at the leak site. It also seeks to prosecute the company for violations of the state's Environmental Protection Act.

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