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Supreme Court leaves ruling against Exxon intact for polluting NYC’s groundwater

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By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a ruling against Exxon Mobil Corp that ordered the company to pay $105 million in damages for polluting New York City’s groundwater with a toxic gasoline additive.

The decision not to hear the case leaves intact a July 2 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld the judgment.

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In 2009, a jury concluded that Exxon contaminated water supply wells when the additive, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), leaked from its underground storage tanks in the borough of Queens.

The appeals court rejected Exxon’s arguments that it was required to use the additive under the federal Clean Air Act. An oxygen-containing substance that is added to gasoline to promote more complete combustion and reduce air pollution, MTBE was one of several additives recommended by regulators to reduce emissions.

It has now largely been phased out of the U.S. fuel supply because of its danger to groundwater.

New York City claimed Exxon went ahead and used the chemical in the 1980s through the first half of the 2000s despite warnings from its own scientists and engineers that it could be harmful in areas that relied on groundwater for drinking.

MTBE has been identified as an animal carcinogen and a possible human carcinogen and causes water to smell foul and taste bad.

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The water wells in southeast Queens that were contaminated serve as a backup supply for the city’s drinking water when the reservoirs upstate go offline because of repairs or droughts.

The New York case was intended serve as a bellwether case to provide guidance for other MTBE complaints that have been brought around the country.

The case is Exxon Mobil v. City of New York, U.S. Supreme Court, 13-842.

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(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; additional reporting by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Will Dunham)


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2020 Election

‘Flailing’ Trump is ‘losing and he’s going to lose bigly’: CNN pollster

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Appearing on CNN's "New Day" with host John Berman, polling analyst Harry Enten said Donald Trump is running a disastrous re-election campaign where the president is losing to his presumptive opponent, Joe Biden, on topics near and dear to the public where the president should be dominating.

According to the analyst, the president is "flailing" because his campaign is pursuing a "losing strategy" as revealed by his poor polling numbers.

Using an ABC/Ipsos poll released Friday morning as his guide, Enten explained, "It's important obviously to put this into context because the president is going to be running against somebody else in former Vice President Joe Biden and, when it comes to the issue of the coronavirus and you match up Biden versus Trump, who is trusted more on the issue, the former vice president is trusted by double digits and also on race relations, the other big issue of the day, we see the former vice president trusted by double digits. It's difficult to imagine that the president will win unless something changes."

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2020 Election

Mike Pence hoped being Trump’s worshipful manservant would protect him from the president’s collapse — but the pandemic’s on him now

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One of the most enduring Trump-era internet memes is "I hope you find someone who looks at you the way Mike Pence looks at Donald Trump." Trevor Noah's "Daily Show" has had a lot of fun with it:

Who's ready to watch Mike Pence watch Donald Trump? #SOTU pic.twitter.com/QqHUeAaXAq

— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) February 5, 2019

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Trump cold-calling friends to launch ‘woe-is-me’ monologues during summer of death and turmoil: report

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President Donald Trump has been moaning about his political misfortunes in calls with friends, as the coronavirus pandemic, nationwide racial protests and widespread unemployment threatens his re-election chances.

The president doesn't even bother with pleasantries anymore, friends told the Washington Post, and instead launches immediately into "woe-is-me" monologues.

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