Hartford may get $1 million from Equilon and Premcor in pollution settlement

By Steve Korris | Mar 5, 2009




Shell Oil subsidiary Equilon Enterprises will pay the village of Hartford $550,000 and Premcor Refining will pay $500,000 under an agreement that village trustees and the companies reached in February.

If Madison County Circuit Judge Stack approves, Equilon and Premcor will settle claims that refinery pollution increased village spending and damaged village property.

The trustees sued Equilon, Premcor, other oil companies and pipelines last July.

The trustees sought to recover costs of repairing and replacing sanitary sewers, streets, municipal buildings and water treatment operations.

They sought to recover lost revenue, overtime wages, and property damage.

The agreement with Equilon and Premcor provides $175,000 for city attorneys Rene Bassett Butler and Merle Bassett, of Bassett Law Office in Wood River.

That equals a sixth of the settlement, half of the customary third.

Butler and Bassett acknowledge that their suit relied on information from years of class action pollution litigation in Stack's court.

Richard Greenberg and Gregory Mollett of Greensfelder, Hemker and Gale in St. Louis represented Equilon.

James Bennett and Erika Anderson of Dowd Bennett in St. Louis and Daniel Nester and Christopher Schmidt of Bryan Cave in St. Louis represented Premcor.

The agreement states that, "In the event either party is asked to comment on the action, their response shall be limited to, 'The matter was settled to our mutual satisfaction,' or language of similar effect."

The two sides agreed not to disparage each other to any third person.

Stack set a good faith hearing Thursday, March 12.

Settlement with Equilon and Premcor doesn't end the village's suit.

Claims remain against Sinclair Oil, Apex Oil, Conoco Phillips, BP Products, BP Pipelines, Atlantic Richfield, ARCO Pipeline, St. Louis Pipeline, Illinois Petroleum Supply, Koch Industries, Koch Pipeline, Explorer Pipeline, Marathon Ashland Pipeline, Toscopetro, Kinder Morgan Illinois Pipeline, Terasen Pipelines, and Platte Pipeline.

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