The state of Ohio is suing BP after the oil company misused the state’s underground storage tank release fund to pay to clean up leaks at a number of its facilities. State Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office announced the filing of the suit at the beginning of the month.
The Petroleum Financial Assurance Fund
Ohio’s Petroleum Financial Assurance Fund collects from a gas tax and serves as a source of financial assistance to help storage tank owners in the state pay for cleanup costs associated with storage tank leaks. However, the fund will only help pay for cleanup costs if the owner of the tank does not have insurance coverage, and does not accept money from other sources to assist with cleanup.
The suit alleges that BP lied to the state and claimed it was not insured for the storage tank leaks at its gasoline stations across the state. However, it actually had several layers of insurance and received compensation both from the state and its insurance to help clean up the leaks. The company submitted and collected 2,651 reimbursement claims to the state, for a total value of more than $33 million. This was paid out from Ohio’s Petroleum Financial Assurance Fund. In addition, 905 claims valuing about $22 million are still pending review and settlement.
“BP spokesman Jason Ryan stated in an email sent Monday evening that the company ‘acted at all times in good faith and believes its dealings with the Ohio state underground storage tank fund have been proper,” according to Cleveland.com. The company plans to fight the lawsuit.
Many states have some sort of fund set up to provide storage tank owners with financial assistance in the event of a leak. To learn more about some of these programs, check out our blogs!
To learn more about what to do if your underground storage tank leaks in Maryland, read our blog on Dealing with an Underground Storage Tank Release in Maryland.