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Groundwater contamination lawsuit settlement costs Shell $46 million

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Limestone’s pipeline cash may flow out by Christmas

Nov. 22, 2008, 11:11 pm

By Robert Themer
[email protected]
815-937-3369

The $26 million settlement of the Shell Oil gasoline spill lawsuit on behalf of Limestone Township residents will be the subject of a hearing in Kankakee County Circuit Court at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 12, attorney Joseph Yurgine announced Friday.

Yurgine will request Circuit Judge Gordon Lustfeldt approve his report and recommendations for the class action settlement and the planned disbursements.

“I am filing a motion asking the judge to release the funds and send checks out no later than Dec. 19, 2008.”

On Friday, Yurgine mailed notices of the hearing to 1,670 plaintiffs in Limestone Township.

“There is $26 million sitting in J.P. Morgan bank, gathering dust,” he said. “All of it is earmarked for the Limestone residents.” That amount is separate from another $20 million from Shell for construction of water lines to provide Aqua Illinois service to residents where underground water has been contaminated by chemicals from the gasoline spill in 1988.

The pipeline leak occurred on the late Martha Danhausen’s farm along the 4000W Road and north of Illinois Route 17, dumping roughly 100,000 gallons of gasoline.

The case has been moving slowly through the courts since Yurgine filed it in 2001 and “has been frustrating for me this past year,” he said. “I am trying very hard to move all of the money from the account into the hands of the residents. The hearing on December 12 will resolve much of this and if all goes well, checks covering monies set forth in the calculation sheets could flow out before Christmas.”

~ Robert Themer

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