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Black Mark for BP in California

SACRAMENTO (CN) - BP will pay California $7.9 million to settle complaints that it claimed payments from the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund with false or misleading statements, and 90 of its cleanup sites are permanently disqualified from such payments, the state said Thursday.

The State Water Resources Control Board said that disqualifying the 90 sites could save the state up to $135 million. In addition, BP's 153 other cleanup sites, which are eligible for reimbursements, will each have a $25,400 offset levied against, reducing its claims by $3.9 million.

BP North America agreed to the deal in a False Claims Act settlement with the State Water Board, the state attorney general and a third-party plaintiff.

The State Water Board and the Attorney General's Office found that BPNA failed to report reimbursements it received from insurance companies for the same sites for which it claimed reimbursements from the fund - which is prohibited.

BP will pay the third-party plaintiff $1.38 million and another $250,000 in attorney fees.


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