The U.S. Supreme Court Monday refused to review a $105 million jury verdict against Exxon Mobil Corp. for contaminating groundwater in New York City with a gasoline additive.
Exxon, based in Irving, Texas, lost its argument that the award wasn’t justified because New York City isn’t planning to use the water from wells in southeastern Queens for at least 15 to 20 years.
Exxon also said it had to use the additive, methyl tertiary butyl ether, to meet requirements of the 1990 federal Clean Air Act.
New York eventually banned MTBE because of contamination concerns.
In 2009, a jury found that Exxon contaminated water supply wells when the additive leaked from its underground storage tanks.
A federal appeals court last year upheld the 2009 jury verdict against Exxon.
Exxon argued in its unsuccessful petition to the Supreme Court that it was shielded from liability for MTBE contamination because MTBE was the best way to comply with the Clean Air Act’s requirement.
The additive was one of several recommended by federal regulators.
It added oxygen to fuel and promoted more complete and cleaner combustion.
There are a string of MTBE contamination cases across the United States by cities, states, and individuals against refiners, retailers, and distributors.