Herrera Sues ExxonMobil for Refusal to Clean Up Decades of Pollution at Fisherman’s Wharf Site

Oil Conglomerate’s Defiance Causes Continuing Release of Hazardous Materials Into Soil, Groundwater and Bay, According to City’s Complaint

SAN FRANCISCO (June 19, 2008) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against ExxonMobil Oil Corporation for its defiant refusal to address environmental damage caused by decades of disposal and release of hazardous petroleum products on property owned by the Port of San Francisco in the City’s Fisherman’s Wharf area. The civil action filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning details a long pattern of broken promises and bad faith by the company and its predecessors dating back to 1994, when the City obtained an agreement from what was then Mobil Oil to remediate soil and groundwater contamination caused by its fueling facility at 440 Jefferson Street, which had operated between 1938 and 1992.

Despite multiple agreements and regulatory enforcement actions requiring cleanup of the site in the years since, however, the Irving, Texas-based conglomerate has consistently stonewalled the City and reneged on promises to remediate its environmental pollution, according to the 20-page complaint. Herrera’s case additionally charges that ExxonMobil’s failure to contain and remediate petroleum hydrocarbons at the site continues to cause ongoing releases of hazardous materials into the soil, groundwater, tidal water and sediment of the San Francisco Bay.

“After years of broken promises and neglect, ExxonMobil has left us little choice but to litigate to protect our environment from further pollution,” Herrera said. “Fourteen years of foot-dragging have added insult to decades of environmental injury by this company and its corporate predecessors. Worse still, this persistent inaction is the cause of ongoing pollution to our soil, our groundwater, and our bay. Residents and taxpayers have been footing the bill for this for too long, and it’s time for ExxonMobil to clean up its contamination and pay the price for its delay.”

The City seeks a court order to compel ExxonMobil to undertake all investigative and remedial actions to comply with appropriate cleanup standards, including those mandated by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board as recently as 2006. Additional injunctive relief would require the company to pay all ongoing and future costs to abate the contamination, and to permanently indemnify the City against related liability and costs. The City is additionally seeking damages, disgorgement of profits, and attorneys’ fees and court costs. The case is: City and County of San Francisco v. ExxonMobil Oil Corporation, San Francisco Superior Court, filed June 19, 2008.