SB County Reaches Major Settlement for Environmental Crimes

SB County Reaches Major Settlement for Environmental Crimes

San Bernardino, CA

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Photo: N.A.S.A.

On Monday, San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos announced a $2.07 million settlement with BP West Coast Products LLC, BP Products North America and Atlantic Richfield Company for violations of environmental law in San Bernardino County. 

According to Ramos, the settlement was part of an overall $14 million case for violations statewide and involved a number of other counties including San Diego. A statewide investigation revealed violations of hazardous materials and hazardous waste laws and regulations at gas stations in a total of 36 counties around the state. 

The settlement purportedly resolved ongoing civil litigation related to alleged violations of state laws that govern the proper operation and maintenance of underground storage tanks that were used to store fuel at the companies’ gas stations. 

The complaint, initiated in 2013, alleged BP had been in violation of environmental laws at its gas stations since 2006. The purported violations included failure to properly maintain leak detection devices; test secondary containment systems; conduct monthly inspections; train employees in proper protocol; and maintain operational alarm systems among other failures. 

Lead Deputy District Attorney Douglas Poston reported that BP has sold nearly all of their interests in the underground storage tank sites in California. However, also according to Poston, “The parties have agreed to resolve the matter and anticipate final judicial approval of the settlement.” 

In commenting about the settlement, District Attorney Ramos stated, “BP failed to properly maintain and monitor their underground storage tank system so as to prevent leaks of fuel into our groundwater supplies.” He concluded, “This result should send a strong message to would-be environmental violators—If you don’t follow the laws and rules designed to protect our natural resources, you will be prosecuted.”

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