Indiana Has Paid $21 Million To Clean Up Contamination By Pence Family Gas Stations
A gas station empire of more than 200 stations owned by Vice President Mike Pence’s family has reportedly cost the state of Indiana $21 million in cleanup costs because of years of contamination.
Pence has referred to his upbringing and the family business, Kiel Bros. Oil Co., in Columbus, Indiana, as a “front row of the American dream.”
The contamination includes underground tanks that leaked toxic chemicals into soil, streams and wells.
Kiel Bros. Oil Co. collapsed in 2004, but Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois taxpayers still have to pay millions of dollars to clean up more than 85 contaminated sites, at an average of about $500,000 per site, reports The Associated Press.
The federal government is planning to use taxpayer money to clean up a cancer-causing solvent discovered beneath a former Kiel Bros. station that threatens drinking water near Columbus, Indiana.
The Associated Press tallied the pollution cost by reviewing thousands of pages of court documents, tax statements, business filings and federal financial disclosures, as well as federal and state environmental records for Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois.
Kiel Bros. has paid for only $8.8 million of the effort in “indemnity and defense costs,” but $5 million of that amount actually came from the states.
Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management, which regulates gas stations, refused to comment.
Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah falsely claimed the newly-published called the findings “a years old issue” that the vice president has addressed before, but The Associated Press’ report is the first time this information has been made public in the media.
Pence’s older brother Greg Pence, who was president of Kiel Bros. when it went bankrupt in 2004, is now running for Congress.
Greg’s campaign spokeswoman Molly Gillaspie manufactured a conspiracy theory in her statement:
Greg Pence has had nothing to do with Kiel Bros since 2004. This is another attempt by the liberal media to rehash old, baseless attacks.
Greg is reportedly worth between $5.7 to $26 million. Under Greg, Kiel bros. racked up environmental fines and closed stores.
Kiel Bros. sites still rank among the top 10 recipients of state money (welfare) for such cleanups in Indiana as of 2013.
(Source: The Associated Press via The New York Times, Photo Credit: NBC News)