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Long-awaited New Hampshire pollution trial ready to start

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published December 29, 2012 at 10:33 a.m. Updated December 29, 2012 at 10:45 a.m.

— Nearly a decade after it was first brought, a lawsuit accusing two oil giants of widespread groundwater contamination in New Hampshire is expected to present jurors with the most complex and time-consuming trial in state history.

The state sued 26 oil companies and subsidiaries in 2003. It claimed the gasoline additive MTBE caused widespread groundwater contamination in a state where 60 percent of the population relies on private wells for drinking water.

All but ExxonMobil and Citgo have reached settlement agreements.

New Hampshire is seeking more than $700 million in damages to test and monitor every private well and public drinking water system in the state and to cover cleanup costs where needed.

New Hampshire’s is the first MTBE suit brought by a state to reach the trial stage.

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