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The Daily Journal (Illinois): Settlement reached in Limestone Township pipeline spill

12/12/2007
By Jon Krenek
[email protected]
815-937-3370

Shell Oil has agreed to pay $46 million to extend water mains through portions of Limestone Township impacted by a 1988 pipeline spill.

Circuit Court Judge Gordon Lustfeldt signed an agreement in a class action lawsuit today, which will jump-start a process for extending water mains and allowing residents to make claims to cover the cost of links to their homes.

The agreement ends a 20-year legal dispute following a 100,000 gallon pipeline spill in ’88, which released 100,000 gallons of SU 2000 gasoline into the shallow limestone aquifer from which many residents draw drinking water.

“It’s been almost 20 years, and we’re getting there,” said Lustfeldt, who penned the agreement early this afternoon. “Obviously, this has been the product of a great deal of effort.”

The agreement results from a civil lawsuit attorney Joe Yurgine filed on behalf of Edith Quick and Lisa Kibbons, both of Limestone Township, which eventually grew to include residents within several miles of the spill site. Yurgine said an extensive public noticing process including advertising, direct mail, a toll-free phone number and a Web site will be providing residents with more information by sometime early next year.

The agreement provides for a $26 million settlement fund that will be deposited in a local bank and overseen by an administrator, who will manage claims of residents. In addition to paying for the water connections directly to residents’ homes, the agreement provides money to subsidize the cost of water service to residents. An estimated $20 million will cover the cost of actual water main extensions.

“These people will be theoretically be paying no more for water than they are now,” said Lustfeldt.

The class action lawsuit is the second Shell Oil has faced related to the 1988 pipeline accident.

An environmental lawsuit the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Kankakee County State’s Attorney settled with Shell Oil in 2005 provided an estimated $1.4 million for pipeline extensions, which are yet to be installed.

 http://www.daily-journal.com/archives/dj/display.php?id=409695

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