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Monday, December 11, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

State Accuses Gas Giants of Double Dipping

ST. LOUIS (CN) - ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 concealed millions of dollars in insurance payments to double dip from a state fund for oil spills, Missouri claims in court.

Attorney General Chris Koster sued the oil giants in City Court, for the Missouri Petroleum Storage Tank Insurance Fund.

Missouri claims the issues started with the defendants' leaky gas tanks.

"Beginning in or around 1996, defendants entered into settlement agreements with their private insurers for payment of pollution liabilities," the complaint states.

"As part of these settlement agreements, defendants received payments from their insurers in satisfaction and release for past and future pollution liability, including liabilities arising out releases from PSTs [petroleum storage tanks] in Missouri.

"Despite receiving payment from their private insurance carriers to pay for the remediation of releases from PSTs owned by defendants, defendants knowingly requested and received payments from the Fund to pay for remediation of these same properties.

"By making and collecting on claims against their private insurance carriers, as well as filing claims with the Fund administrators for the same occurrences, defendants improperly and illegally obtained a double recovery of remediation funds."

Missouri claims ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 knowingly submitted "false applications, statements and omissions," and failed to disclose millions of dollars they got from insurers.

The Missouri Petroleum Storage Tank Fund was created in 1989, in response to federal law requiring operators of underground petroleum storage tanks to have financial resources to pay for injuries and contamination caused by leaks.

Missouri seeks unspecified actual damages, compensatory damages and an injunction.

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