Illinois AG sues refinery over groundwater pollution
Illinois’ Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing the current and past owners of the Wood River Refinery in Roxana claiming they're responsible for polluted groundwater around the sprawling plant.
The lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Madison County Circuit Court, names as defendants the plant’s current owner, WRB Refining LP, as well as former owners ConocoPhillips and Shell Oil. It comes just months after the Village of Roxana filed a similar lawsuit alleging contamination from the plant.
Madigan's lawsuit claims the companies have allowed oil, gasoline and other toxins permeate the groundwater and spread beyond the plant’s property line.
"These companies must be held accountable for the environmental and public health damage caused by this contamination,” the attorney general said in a statement.
The lawsuit seeks the maximum civil penalties of $50,000 per violation and an additional $10,000 a day for violations of state environmental laws as well as reimbursement of costs for the investigation and cleanup.
Shell spokeswoman Kayla Macke said the company is aware of the lawsuit, but had no immediate comment.
"Shell has been working cooperatively with the Illinois EPA, Illinois Department of Health and the Village of Roxana to conduct environmental assessments and address historic subsurface impacts," she said in an email response to questions.
The refinery is jointly owned by Cenovus Energy and Phillips 66, which operates the plant.
Melissa Erker, a Phillips 66 spokeswoman, said the company has been working with Shell and state environmental regulators to allow access for remediation of historical contamination.
"It is our belief that we are named because of our direct relationship with the former owner," Erker said.