The city of North Pole, Alaska, is suing an oil refinery owned by the billionaire Koch brothers for alleged water contamination. The lawsuit names Flint Hills Alaska Resources, owner of the Earth Resources refinery, for allowing the chemical sulfolane to leak and seep into the town’s groundwater supply.
Flint Hills Alaska Resources is owned by Koch Industries, controlled by conservative brothers Charles and David Koch. The city is also suing the refinery’s previous owner, Williams Alaska Petroleum.
In the complaint, North Pole says,
Lawyers for Flint Hills say the litigation should target only Williams Alaska Petroleum, claiming the contamination occurred under that company, and that Flint Hills has prevented additional leakage of sulfolane.
Flint Hills Refinery in North Pole, Alaska (photo: Flint Hills Resources)
The city wants both companies to pay for the cleanup of the contamination. It also is seeking an unspecified amount for damages,
Even the state of Alaska, normally sympathetic to oil interests, has taken notice of the problem. A 2013 report called the problem
The state says the effects of sulfolane are unknown, but it hopes to have a better idea of its toxicity in four or five years. Maybe North Pole residents can drink egg nog until then.
North Pole Files Lawsuit Over Sulfolane Contamination (by Rod Boyce, Newsminer.com)
North Pole Sues Koch-Owned Oil Company Over Contaminated Water (by Emily Atkin, ClimateProgress)
Flint Hills Resources History (Flint Hills Resources)
Should Keystone Pipeline be Renamed Koch Brothers Pipeline? (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)