Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Wednesday announced a $10 million settlement with the former owner and operator of a Madison County oil refinery to fund environmental cleanup at the facility over the opposition from the refinery’s current owner.
Madigan’s consent order was entered in Madison County Circuit Court with Missouri-based Apex Oil Co. Inc., which owned and operated the oil refinery near Hartford from 1967 to 1988. The settlement comes after years of litigation by Madigan’s office against Apex and the refinery’s current owner, the Premcor Refining Group Inc., over petroleum contamination at the refinery. Premcor, which has owned and operated the refinery site since 1988, opposed the consent order with the former owner, and Madigan’s lawsuit against Premcor is ongoing.
Madigan sued both Apex and Premcor in 2003 following referrals for enforcement of environmental violations from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Madigan’s lawsuit alleged that gasoline and other petroleum products spilled and leaked from the refinery into the land and groundwater during the ownership of both companies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been and continues to oversee remediation of the contamination in the nearby community while the lawsuit is pending.
“This settlement is an important step in a long legal process to ensure that the land and water contaminated by spills from this refinery are cleaned up,” Madigan said. “My office will continue our work to hold the current refinery owner accountable for its role in causing the environmental damage to the site and impacting the nearby Hartford community.”
Under the consent order, Apex will pay $10 million into a trust fund established to support cleanup and remediation activities resulting from refinery and pipeline pollution.
In opposing the settlement, Premcor moved for partial summary judgment against the state of Illinois and Apex in order to avoid legal responsibility for the full cleanup. The court denied Premcor’s request, and Madigan’s lawsuit against Premcor remains ongoing.
Bureau Chief Andrew Armstrong and Assistant Attorneys General Raymond Callery and Eric Lohrenz handled the case for Madigan’s Environmental Enforcement Bureau.