An oil company and refining company will have to pay $11.5 million following the settlement of a lawsuit that charged the companies with improper hazardous waste disposal, California Attorney General Kamala Harris said today.
The complaint, filed in Jan. 2013, against oil company ConocoPhillips and its refinery Phillips 66 follows a statewide investigation that revealed the companies endangered nearby water supplies and violated the state’s hazardous materials and hazardous waste laws when they failed to properly store gasoline at over 560 gasoline stations in California.
Harris said the oil and gas companies have threatened nearby water supplies since 2006 and that this settlement holds them accountable for “dangerous negligence and will ensure future compliance with environmental laws.”
In 2011, prior to ConocoPhillips’ creation of its spin-off company Phillips 66, the company’s revenue was roughly $211 billion.
In a complaint filed in January 2013, Harris alleges the companies violated anti-pollution laws with respect to their underground storage tanks.
The companies did not properly operate and maintain underground gasoline storage tanks used to hold gasoline that was sold to the public, according to Harris.
The complaint alleges that among the top violations were the companies’ failure to properly maintain leak detection devices, test secondary containment systems, conduct monthly inspections, train employees in proper protocol, and maintain operational alarm systems.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, the two companies have since sold nearly all of their interests in the underground storage tank sites in California.
District attorneys from Alameda, El Dorado, Merced, Nevada, Placer, San Bernardino, and Stanislaus counties joined the California Attorney General’s Office in its enforcement.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said today that this settlement achieves an important goal.
“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 in this case was approved by the Alameda County Superior Court.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News