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Published: Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Appellate court upholds Chevron responsibility for cleanup at gas station site

Staff Writer, (609) 272-7218

The oil company Chevron will have to pay nearly half of the hundreds of thousands of dollars it will cost to clean up the contaminated site of a former Ventnor gas station, an appeals panel ruled Monday.

The case, 6400 Corp. v Chevron USA, involved an appeal of a January 2004 decision in which Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee ruled during a bench trial that the oil giant was 42 percent liable for contamination at the old Tabasso's gas station.

The station was bought in the 1990s by Robert Goldstein, who planned to redevelop it. He was responsible for the balance of the cleanup cost.

Goldstein's 6400 Corp. planned to redevelop the Ventnor Avenue property and spent more than $100,000 in cleanups caused by oil spills from underground storage tanks. He still could not use the property, however, because of environmental concerns, his attorney Stuart Lieberman said Monday.

The defense appealed, claiming that forensic evidence used to prove Chevron was responsible for contaminants in the soil was “junk science.”

copyright 2007, Press of Atlantic City