Approximately 200 residents of Angelina County, Texas have agreed to settle a benzene lawsuit filed against Chevron in 2002. The lawsuit involved claims of property damage and health complications such as leukemia.
Old, Leaky & Unused Pipeline
At issue in the lawsuit was a leaky crude oil pipeline owned by Chevron that ran through Lufkin (in Angelina County). According to the lawsuit, Chevron stopped using the 70 year old pipeline in the 1980s and never cleaned it up.
Residents claimed they were unaware the pipeline existed until 2002, when it was unearthed during a local construction project. It was then that the residents realized the rusty oil pipeline was the likely source of contamination in the area.
Residents Suffer Benzene Exposure
In 2003, testing conducted by the city of Lufkin measured benzene levels in the groundwater to be 12,660 parts per billion (ppb) – by far exceeding the protective 5 ppb limit. Chevron testing found the level of benzene to be six times the protective limit.
Residents in the lawsuit alleged that Chevron knew that the pipeline was leaking benzene and other harmful chemicals into the air, soil and groundwater. Benzene exposure has been linked to serious illnesses such as acute myelogenous leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.