Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Harris Sues BP, ARCO Over Environmental Violations
By JACKIE FUCHS, Staff Writer
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said yesterday she has sued BP West Coast Products, BP Products North America, Inc. and Atlantic Richfield Company for allegedly violating state laws governing hazardous materials and hazardous waste.
The attorney general, joined by the district attorneys of nine counties, filed suit Friday in Alameda Superior Court. The complaint accuses the defendants of 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 to protecting the integrity of California’s groundwater resources,” Harris said in a release. “California’s hazardous waste laws safeguard public health and this lawsuit ensures proper maintenance of the tanks that store fuel beneath California’s communities.”
The other district attorneys involved are Nancy E. O’Malley of Alameda County, Robert Maloney of Glenn County, Larry D. Morse II of Merced County, Clifford Newell of Nevada County, R. Scott Owens of Placer County, Michael A. Ramos of San Bernardino County, Birgit Fladager of Stanislaus County, and Patrick McGrath of Yuba County.
The complaint 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, and have 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.
It is also alleged 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’ office, which found violations of hazardous materials and hazardous waste laws and regulations at BP gas stations in 37 counties across the state.
A copy of the complaint, which contains the addresses of the gas stations, can be found online at http://oag.ca.gov.
In January of last year, the attorney general filed a similar lawsuit against Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips.
BP and Arco did not return telephone calls requesting comment.
Copyright 2013, Metropolitan News Company