AP News

ExxonMobil to begin defense in NH pollution trial


CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — ExxonMobil's lawyers are set to begin presenting their defense in New Hampshire's suit for damages for groundwater contamination from a gasoline additive.

Attorneys for the state rested its case last month after six weeks of testimony from 13 witnesses and a string of videotaped depositions.

The state filed a products liability lawsuit in 2003 against 26 petroleum companies, alleging they failed to warn of the dangers of the additive MTBE. The other 25 defendants settled.

Lawyers for ExxonMobil contend MTBE did what it was supposed to: reduce air pollution.

The first defense witness is expected to be an ExxonMobil environmental specialist who warned of the additive's hazards in the 1980s.

Former Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Robert Varney testified he was shocked the findings were never shared with the state.


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