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BP and ARCO sued over environmental violations

By Office of the State Attorney General

Gas station storage tanks inadequately maintained

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris filed a civil lawsuit on February 1, 2013 against BP West Coast Products, BP Products North America, Inc. and Atlantic Richfield Company for allegedly violating state laws governing hazardous materials and hazardous waste by failing to properly inspect and maintain underground tanks used to store gasoline for retail sale at more than 780 gas stations in California.

“Safe storage of gasoline is not only common sense, it is essential for protecting the integrity of California’s groundwater resources,” Harris said. “California’s hazardous waste laws safeguard public health and this lawsuit ensures proper maintenance of the tanks that store fuel beneath California’s communities.”

Harris was joined in this enforcement action by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley, Glenn County District Attorney Robert Maloney, Merced County District Attorney Larry D. Morse II, Nevada County District Attorney Clifford Newell, Placer County District Attorney R. Scott Owens, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos, Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager and Yuba County District Attorney Patrick McGrath.

The complaint filed February 1, 2013 in Alameda County Superior Court alleges that, since October 2006, the BP companies and ARCO have improperly monitored, inspected and maintained underground storage tanks used to store gasoline for retail sale. The complaint alleges that the defendants tampered with or disabled leak detection devices and failed to test secondary containment systems, conduct monthly inspections, train employees in proper protocol and maintain operational alarm systems, among other violations. The lawsuit also alleges that the defendants improperly handled and disposed of hazardous wastes and materials associated with the underground storage tanks at retail gas stations throughout the state.

The complaint follows a recent statewide investigation led by Harris’s office, which found violations of hazardous materials and hazardous waste laws and regulations at BP gas stations in 37 counties across the state.

In January 2012, the Attorney General’s office filed a similar lawsuit against Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips:

Deputy Attorney Generals Brett J. Morris and Deborah Halberstadt are prosecuting the case for Attorney General Harris’ Environment Section.

For a copy of the complaint, which contains the addresses of the gas stations, visit http://oag.ca.gov.


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