CONCORD, N.H. — Lawyers for ExxonMobil begin presenting their defense against the state of New Hampshire’s claims that the oil giant should pay hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up groundwater contamination from the gasoline additive MTBE.

Jurors are returning Monday after a week-long break after the state rested its case Feb. 21. Lawyers for the state put on 13 witnesses and several videotaped depositions over the course of six weeks.

Lawyers for ExxonMobil contend MTBE did what it was supposed to – reduce air pollution.

The first defense witness is expected to be an ExxonMobil environmental specialist who warned of MTBE’s environmental hazards in the mid-1980s.

Former Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Robert Varney testified he was “shocked” ExxonMobil did not share her findings with the state.

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