TRENTON, N.J. — Three major petroleum companies, Sunoco, Inc., BP, and Shell Oil Company, have reached $196.5 million in settlements with New Jersey for alleged damage to the state's environment and natural resources.

The three companies agreed to the payments to settle a June 2007 lawsuit by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), alleging the defendants caused damage to the state's groundwater due to the manufacturing of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), according to the State Attorney General's Office. 

“These are important legal settlements on behalf of New Jersey citizens, not only in terms of the dollars but in terms of sending a message that we are committed to working with DEP to protect our State’s natural resources and hold accountable companies that pollute,” state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement.

The three settlements were recently approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, including Sunoco, which has already paid $64 million. BP agreed to pay $32 million and Shell will pay $68.5 million for causing MTBE to be in the groundwater at their sites. 

According to the State Attorney's Office, the three recent settlements mark more than $350 million in settlements obtained by the Division of Law for companies involved in the MTBE litigation.

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