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Attorney General Recovers $2 Million In Insurance Funds For Contaminated Gas Station Cleanup

CONTACT: Mark J. Di Stefano, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-3186

June 19, 2013

The State of Vermont has received 2 million dollars for cleanup of a contaminated gas station located in New Haven, Vermont. The recovery resulted from a lawsuit brought by Attorney General William Sorrell to recover payments that were made from the Vermont Petroleum Cleanup Fund (PCF) at the site and the future costs of cleanup. The suit was brought after the Department of Environmental Conservation discovered the existence of an insurance policy that had not been disclosed, as required, in the application for funding from the PCF. The State recently concluded the multi-year litigation with the parties, resulting in the recovery by the PCF of $2,025,000 in insurance payments. “It is important that businesses and insurance companies play fair with the state’s environmental clean-up funds and not seek reimbursement when private insurance covers the clean-up costs,” said Attorney General Sorrell.

The New Haven Mobil gas station was extensively contaminated as a result of releases of gasoline that were discovered in the 1990s. Cleanup activities at the site have continued to the present. In 2009, the Attorney General, with the assistance of the Department of Environmental Conservation, filed suit against R.L. Vallee, Inc., owner of the property, and Chartis Specialty Insurance Company seeking to recover the payments made by the PCF and to obtain the remaining insurance moneys to clean up the site. State of Vermont v. R.L. Vallee, Inc. and Chartis Specialty Insurance Co., Docket No. 389-6-10 Wncv.

In 2010, the Attorney General reached a settlement with Vallee that recovered $900,000 in insurance proceeds that Vallee had received. Those funds were used to pay for extensive removal of contaminated soils at the New Haven Mobil and for operation of a treatment system. In May 2013, Chartis agreed to settle the State’s remaining claims by paying $1.125 million dollars. Those funds will be applied to reimbursing the PCF for its prior expenditures and paying for future cleanup costs at the site.

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