Several plaintiffs have brought charges against Exxon Mobil Oil Corporation for contaminating ecosystems with poisonous pollutants that are detrimental to marine and estuarine life. A settlement worth nearly $6.6 million has been proposed that will go towards restoring Charleston area salt marshes and building oyster reefs.
The money will be split among several state and federal agencies and will be used to reimburse administrative expenses related to damage assessment and damage control into the Ashley and Beaufort Rivers and about 100 acres of salt marshes by the phosphate fertilizer industry since the 1800s.
Experts admit that the negative impact of phosphate fertilizer industry, apparently the largest in South Carolina, were unknown. Only time revealed that phosphate fertilizer production contaminated industrial sites with sulphuric acid, lead, arsenic, copper, mercury, and zinc. Around 100 acres of salt marshes and the Ashley and Beaufort Rivers have been impacted. The toxic pollutants have caused range of negative responses in the marine and estuarine life including increased mortality, developmental problems, and reproductive issues.
The settlement money borne by Exxon Mobil will also go towards restoring other damaged ecosystems and rebuilding marine life. As of now, building oyster reefs is urgent as they help filter and improve water quality.
The proposed settlement agreement for $6,589,211 has been posted on the federal register for public comment until June 7, 2019.