"Duo Tracks Double-Dipping in U.S. Oil Firms' Toxic Tank Cleanup"

"A pioneer in cleaning up toxic messes, Thomas Schruben long suspected major oil companies of being paid twice for dealing with leaks from underground fuel storage tanks - once from government funds and again, secretly, from insurance companies."

"Schruben, a detail-oriented Maryland environmental engineer who helped draft government pollution rules going back 30 years, looked for a lawyer to help ferret out what he believed could in some cases be fraud. He found a partner in Dennis Pantazis, a buoyant, mustachioed son of Greek immigrants in Alabama known for bringing environmental and civil rights cases. ...

Court documents show many of the cases and settlement agreements follow a similar pattern, accusing the oil companies of "double-dipping" by collecting both special state funds and insurance money for the same tank cleanups. Some states say any insurance payouts should have gone to them since they covered the cost of the work."

Mica Rosenberg reports for Reuters February 10, 2014.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014