Following a 15 month investigation by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, three oil companies have agreed to repay Minnesota $7.4 million. The money will go into a state fund that pays for cleanup costs involving contaminated underground tanks.
The Star Tribune reports that the state probe found the oil companies tapped the Petroleum Tank Release Cleanup Fund while also getting insurance reimbursements. Applicants are required to disclose whether they have insurance for environmental damage.
The Commerce Department said Chevron, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips agreed to return the money for costs accumulated from 1988 to 2012. Phillips 66 agreed to pay $4.9 million. Chevron agreed to pay $1.97 million, and ExxonMobil $550,000.
“The big oil companies, in essence, double-dipped by getting Petrofund dollars as well as the insurance proceeds,” Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said in an interview with the newspaper.
The companies denied any wrongdoing, saying they were “factually and legally entitled” to payments from the state fund regardless of any insurance recoveries, according to the settlement