MTBE Producers Would Get Relief from Lawsuits Under Energy Bill

Of all the anti-environmental provisions in the energy bill, the one raising perhaps the most ire would limit the liability of companies that produce the fuel additive MTBE, which has been found to contaminate water supplies across the country. Not only would the measure shield the companies from future lawsuits related to water pollution; it would be retroactive to Sept. 5, thereby undermining a number of cases that have been filed in the last month and a half. To top it all off, the bill would give MTBE manufacturers $2 billion in federal aid to retrofit their plants to make other fuels. A handful of Democratic senators said today that they might filibuster in order to remove the MTBE provision, and they say a number of Republicans also want to get rid of the MTBE language.