Brown sues TravelCenters of America for improper fuel storage

Legal News Line Apr. 14, 2009, 10:43am

Jerry Brown (D)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - California Attorney General Jerry Brown sued a national retail gasoline chain for its alleged failure to comply with underground fuel storage laws, the attorney general's office said Monday.

"TravelCenters of America has knowingly and repeatedly disregarded California's underground fuel storage laws for years," Brown said.

TravelCenters of America has 234 retail outlets, including 188 that it owns and operates and 46 franchise operations, in North America.

Brown's action joins efforts by Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco, who sought a legal injunction against TravelCenters of America for violating the state's laws regarding the underground storage of fuel last July.

TravelCenters responded to the injunction request with "more than a dozen legal theories as to why the law does not apply," the attorney general's office said.

At Pacheco's request, Brown joined the lawsuit last week and made it public on Monday.

Brown said the Riverside Department of Environmental Health has found numerous violations during periodic inspections of the retail gas outlet in its city. Brown is now seeking a permanent injunction to block TravelCenter's operations, the press release stated.

Brown's lawsuit accuses the company of a series of penalties and violations, each with a maximum of $25,000 in civil penalties that could add up to millions in fines, the press release stated.

Among the violations, Brown accused TravelCenters of failing to identify the date hazardous materials were received, properly managing the hazardous waste containers, identifying an emergency coordinator and inspecting containers in storage areas among a lengthy list presented to the court.

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