Gasoline companies ordered to pay millions for pollution violations

Two Texas gasoline companies have reached a settlement in a civil complaint regarding pollution violations committed in California.

ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 will pay a total of $11.5 million dollars as part of the settlement agreement. The lawsuit, which was filed in January 2013, alleged that the two Houston-based companies violated a number of California state laws in the operation and maintenance of underground gasoline storage tanks at more than 560 gas stations in the state. 

The violations include not maintaining leak detection devices, failing to test secondary containment systems, a lack of monthly inspections on the tanks and not training employees properly in protocol. All of these requirements are part of California's hazardous waste and hazardous materials laws. The violations allegedly began in 2006 and endangered nearby water supplies.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris said, "Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips failed to adequately monitor hazardous materials in large gasoline holding tanks, which endangered nearby water supplies. This settlement holds Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips accountable for this dangerous negligence and will ensure future compliance with environmental laws."

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O'Malley added, "My office is committed to protecting the environment and the public from potential exposure to hazardous materials."

Anti-pollution law violations were discovered at gas stations in 34 counties. Since the case began, ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 have sold almost all of their interests in the underground gasoline storage tanks in California.

In addition to the $11.5 million fine, ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 will take steps to ensure compliance with all federal and state laws regarding pollution in the future. Environmental consultants can help companies develop strategic plans to ensure that business proceeds smoothly without violating any regulations.