Vice President Pence’s family gas station business, Kiel Bros. Oil Co., went belly-up back around 2004. But now, 14 years and over $21 million in government cleanup costs later, the Associated Press reports that much of the environmental aftermath of that company’s operations remains.
Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana (vice president Pence’s home state) still have to spend millions to clean “more than 85 contaminated sites across the three states,” AP reports in its deep-dive into the environmental damage remaining from the Kiel Bros. gas station business. That damage includes “underground tanks that leaked toxic chemicals into soil, streams and wells.”
Apparently the contamination hasn’t exactly been minor thus far, with AP writing:
Indiana alone has spent at least $21 million on the cleanup thus far, or an average of about $500,000 per site, according an analysis of records by The Associated Press. And the work is nowhere near complete.
The federal government, meanwhile, plans to clean up a plume of cancer-causing solvent discovered beneath a former Kiel Bros. station that threatens drinking water near the Pence family’s hometown.
Pence’s father Edward served as a Kiel Bros.’s vice president in the 1970s, before Mike Pence’s brother took over the business in 1988 after his father passed away, eventually becoming president.
At one point, Pence boasted on Twitter about having worked at “[his] father’s gas station” at the age of 14, though his ties to the now-defunct line of gas stations—and the pollution surrounding it—have been in the news for years.
The AP’s story delves deep into just how bad the environmental damage is, saying that—as of 2013, the final year they could find spending data—“Kiel bros still ranked among the top 10 recipients of state money for such cleanups in Indiana.” The story describes one recently-demolished site near Indianapolis:
“Many of the gas stations were sold off and are still operating. But some sites were abandoned, including a graffiti-covered storage tank facility that once towered over an Indianapolis neighborhood. Nearby residents cheered last December as a crew tore down the tank, which was sold by the company for $10 in 2005 and has been an eyesore ever since. The cleanup will cost an estimated $260,000 , according to the city.”
Check out the full story on AP to learn more about how Indiana state policies heave forced taxpayers to pay dearly.