Exxon Leads The Environmental Fight By Suing The U.S. Over Winning World War II

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

If there's one company out there that won't put up with illegal oil dumping, it's Exxon. These guys are hawks about pollution, and they will sue whoever the hell they need to in order to bring evildoers to justice.

So they're suing the United States, which blithely went ignored all sorts of Environmental Impact commandments just because they were in the middle of a war against Germany and Japan.

Exxon has sued the U.S. in a Virginia federal court, saying the company was forced (by the state of Texas, of all things) to clean up a Baytown refinery tainted with jet fuel and other stuff manufactured by the feds back in WWII.

According to Courthouse News Service:

Exxon says Uncle Sam built five more plants at its Baytown manufacture raw, war-related materials, such as synthetic rubber. It claims the government oversaw day-to-day operations of the plant, including waste disposal, and "generated substantial hazardous waste" during the 1940s and 1950s.

"Much of the solid waste generated from the operations was treated and/or disposed of at various surface impoundments at the Baytown complex. Most of the treated wastewaters was [sic] ultimately discharged into nearby surface water bodies, such as the Houston Ship Channel, Scott's Bay or Mitchell Bay, at the Baytown Site," according to the complaint.

Exxon says it has been forced to spend $45 million in "response costs" required by Texas. And it "expects to incur substantial additional response costs in the future, to investigate and remediate the contamination at the site."

On the other hand, $45 million seems a cheap price to pay not to be ruled by Nazi overlords or bowing to the Rising Sun.

Exxon was Esso back then, and the company says the government all but took over operations at the refinery during the war, and therefore should be responsible for any pollution clean-up from that time.

Now, since Exxon has been running a refinery there since World War II, you might be wondering how they know the pollution wasn't caused by them instead of the dedicated Rosie the Riveters and 4-F workers who were kicking Hitler's ass.

Not to worry.

Exxon also claims it spent $200,000 on a consulting firm that investigated the site to determine who was responsible for the contamination, and the search "identified the Government" as the party responsible.

The suit says the company "confidentially" contacted the Feds in 2004 seeking a settlement but was turned down.

We may have to double-check our figures, but in 2004 the Bush-Cheney administration was in charge, right? And you couldn't get them to rule on your side?

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.