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Shell to Pay $19.5M for Gas Station Violations

OAKLAND (CN) - An Alameda County judge has ordered Shell Oil to pay $19.5 million for environmental violations after state investigators found hundreds of cases of unmonitored leaking, spilling and unmonitored gasoline tanks at stations statewide.

The state attorney general's office launched its 2006 investigation after the San Diego and Riverside district attorneys settled cases with the company for "numerous underground fuel storage violations," California Attorney General Edmund Brown Jr. said in a statement.

The AG investigated more than 1,000 Shell stations across California and found that many failed to maintain leak detection systems and spill alarms, according to the lawsuit. Others failed to conduct contaminate testing and monitoring on their gas tanks, Brown said.

One investigator found "liquid and hazardous substances in the contaminate sump" at a station in Agoura Hills that had previously failed Shell's own inspection, Brown said.

Shell was ordered to pay $19.5 million, to comply with state law, and to improve its spill monitoring, employee training and hazardous waste management.

Earlier this year, Brown and district attorneys reached similar settlements with U-Haul, Target, Kmart and TravelCenters of America for their handling of toxic waste and other hazardous materials.

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