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Oil company lawyers wrap up openings in MTBE case

Lynne Tuohy, Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Lawyers for ExxonMobil and Citgo have said in the oil companies' trial that the gasoline additive MTBE did exactly what it was supposed to do — replace lead and dramatically reduce air pollution by making gas burn cleaner.

The lawyers wrapped up their opening statements on the second day of what is expected to be a four-month trial as New Hampshire seeks more than $700 million to monitor and clean up MTBE in drinking water supplies.

Attorney Nathan Eimer (EYE-mer), representing Citgo, told jurors Tuesday that MTBE hasn't been used in New Hampshire since 2006, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lifted certain gas content requirements. He said the number of new detections of MTBE contamination in the state is near zero.

Lawyers for the state are questioning their first witness, hydrologist Graham Fogg.