Chevron accused of ‘double-dipping’ into oil cleanup funds

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South Dakota is suing Chevron for allegedly “double-dipping” into taxpayer and insurance money to cleanup an under ground oil leak.

The lawsuit, filed in Hughes County, is on behalf of the South Dakota Petroleum Release Fund, which was created after new regulations requiring the reporting and clean up of leaks were set by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to the Argus-Leader.

The amounts Chevron collected from the fund and from insurance were not disclosed in the report.

Chevron faces similar lawsuits in Illinois, Alabama and West Virginia, the newspaper reported.

The state alleges that Chevron and its subsidiaries used existing insurance policies and money from various states to cover its losses, according to the newspaper.

The newspaper, citing court records, said the state alleges that the company pursued insurance payments in court using the same information it submitted to states to apply for taxpayer money.

It also alleges that the corporation collected at least $661 million nationwide in insurance money for environmental cleanup in the past two decades, the newspaper reported.

South Dakota’s fund uses 10.65% of the state’s 2-cents-per-gallon tank inspection fee to help underground storage tank owners manage cleanup costs, according to the Argus-Leader.

South Dakota’s fund has paid $82 million for cleanup since 1988 at 4,301 petroleum release sites, the newspaper said.

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