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Wednesday, May 29, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Family Says BP Ruined|Their Cattle Farm

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (CN) - America's favorite defendant, BP, faces another federal lawsuit, from a cattle-farming family who say a ruptured BP pipeline polluted their land with carcinogenic xylene, ethylbenzene and other chemicals.

The Thomas family says runoff from the toxic leak continues to pollute their land and groundwater and a stream on their property, forcing them to seek other sources of potable water, and killing their cattle farm.

Greg and Amanda Thomas sued BP Pipeline and two contractors the oil giant hired to remediate the spill: AECOM and RMT. The Thomases say that "Xylene, ethylbenze and other chemicals from BP's pipeline continue to pollute plaintiffs' irrigation and water wells. As a result, the plaintiffs have been forced to obtain other sources of potable water, and have been forced to cease cattle farming operations.

"Significant amounts of xylene, ethylbenzene, and other chemicals remain in the

soil and groundwater of the plaintiffs' land. Upon the occurrence of a significant rain event, stormwater runoff carrying xylene, ethylbenzene, and other chemicals flow into the stream on plaintiffs' land and into tributaries of Elk River, a water of the state, bearing a classification of Fish and Wildlife."

They add: "Based upon information and belief, BP does not maintain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit."

All three defendants "undertook to restore and remediate" the Dec. 29, 2008 spill, "but have negligently failed to do so," the Thomases claim.

They seek compensatory and punitive damages for violations of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, negligence, trespass, nuisance, wantonness, outrage, and assault and battery. ("Defendants and their employees, agents, officers, and representatives knowingly and intentionally caused the pollutants contained in the chemicals and stormwater to touch the plaintiffs in rudeness and a hostile manner.")

They are represented by D. Mitchell Henry and Webster, Henry, Lyons, White, Bradwell & Black, of Montgomery.

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