ConocoPhillips to Pay CA $11.5M for Leaky Tanks

     (CN) – A state judge approved a settlement calling for oil giants Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips to pay $11.5 million to end claims that they violated hazardous-waste laws regarding underground gasoline storage tanks.
     The companies allegedly failed to comply with hazardous-materials and hazardous-waste laws at more than 560 gas stations in 34 of California’s 58 counties, according to Attorney General Kamala Harris.
     A complaint filed by the state in 2013 alleged that Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips violated anti-pollution laws by failing to properly maintain leak-detection devices, test secondary containment systems, conduct monthly inspections, train employees in proper protocol, and maintain operational alarm systems since 2006.
     Harris said that the companies’ failure to adequately monitor hazardous materials in large gasoline holding tanks “endangered nearby water supplies.”
     “This settlement holds Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips accountable for this dangerous negligence and will ensure future compliance with environmental laws,” Harris said.
     The companies have since sold nearly all of their interests in the underground tank sites in California, Harris said.
     Under the settlement, the companies must comply with regulations relating to generators of hazardous waste at any gas stations they currently own or may own in the future.
     Phillips 66 will pay $9 million in civil penalties, $1.5 million in attorney fees and costs, and $1 million as restitution to fund environmental projects.
     Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, who participated in the action against the oil companies, said that her office is committed to protecting the environment from exposure to hazardous materials.
     “When corporations place our valuable water resources in jeopardy by failing to comply with environmental laws and regulations, they must be held accountable,” O’Malley said.
     The final judgment was approved by Alameda County Superior Court Judge George Hernandez on Wednesday.
     A representative with Phillips 66 told Courthouse News the company is “committed to protecting the health and safety of everyone who plays a part in its operations or uses our products.””California’s Attorney General has settled a civil suit against Phillips 66 for alleged violations of the state’s underground storage tank and hazardous waste laws. However, it is important to note that all of the alleged violations were administrative in nature and the Attorney General’s settlement does not allege impact or damage to the environment,” the representative added.

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