Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Suit Attacks Oil Firms

NEW YORK -- A leak from a nearby service station contaminated his water well with MTBE, and Steven Greene thinks that the oil companies that put the toxic chemical in their gasoline ought to pay for the damage to his Westchester County, New York, property.

"Nobody's going to want to buy a house with MTBE in their water system," he said.

He is named among plaintiffs in a potentially far-reaching class-action lawsuit filed late last week in New York City that could have a big impact on the raging controversy over continued use of methyl tertiery-butyl ether in gasoline.

If the New York lawsuit and similar class-actions in Maine and North Carolina succeed, the oil industry could be forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to test wells for MTBE and to compensate people who can show that their property values have been reduced becauseof contamination by the chemical.