ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66 to Pay $11.5M Over Hazardous Waste Violations

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

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  • Dominio Público

    $11.5M is probably cheaper than paying for proper disposal.

  • pjcoyle

    From what the article says it doesn’t sound like waste disposal was really the issue it was failure to operate and maintain the systems that detect and contain leaks from underground storage tanks. There is no mention of actual leaks being involved, which would have made the problem much worse.

    • Worse than no problem at all? Interesting way to put it. In fact, there is no evidence listed of any actual problems or threats to the environment at all, only the potential that, if there had been a problem, it is possible that it perhaps might not have been detected in the way the People’s Republik of Kalifornia demands. This has nothing to do with any true violation, only not following the state-mandated procedures. “When corporations place our valuable water resources in jeopardy by failing to comply with environmental laws and regulations, they must be held accountable.” And how were any of those resources in jeopardy? Not listed, none identified. That’s worth $11.5M? And there’s no chance whatever that extreme politico Kamela Harris is seeking to replace some of the funding shortfall by stealing from, oops, I mean fining “big oil.” Nope, none at all…
      There has indeed been serious jeopardy placed on the state water resources. During a drought, fresh water is being dumped into the ocean instead of being managed and stored to make it useful. If she is serious about defending water resources, perhaps she ought to fine the legislature and governor for wasting that precious resource. Not holding my breath waiting on that bit of sanity to occur.