By Dan Gearino
The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is suing BP, alleging that it improperly obtained $33 million from a state fund to clean up leaks from underground fuel tanks.
The lawsuit, filed yesterday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, says the energy company received money from the Petroleum Financial Assurance Fund at the same time it was receiving insurance money for the same leaks. DeWine’s office described that as “double-dipping.”
“Our lawsuit alleges that BP knowingly and intentionally took more than $33 million that it was not eligible to accept,” DeWine said in a statement. “BP has to follow the same rules as other businesses and can’t engage in misconduct without consequence.”
The complaint says BP concealed the existence of hundreds of insurance policies. It cites 2,651 claims filed by the company with the state, which led to $33.4 million in payments. And that doesn’t include an additional 905 claims worth $22.3 million that the state is still reviewing.
The cleanup fund has paid out $221 million, according to the panel that oversees it. BP and companies that it later acquired have received more money from the fund than any other company dating to the fund’s inception in 1989.
BP did not respond to a message seeking comment.