Shell Oil settles environmental suit

Kathy Woods Nov. 9, 2009, 12:10pm

Jerry Brown (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-Shell Oil Co. has agreed to pay $19.5 million to settle claims by California Attorney General Jerry Brown that the company violated state environmental laws.

The settlement, which was filed in Alameda County Superior Court, requires Shell to improve its storage and monitoring of possible fuel leaks.

"Shell Oil Company disregarded the state's underground fuel storage and hazardous waste laws, committing hundreds of environmental violations at its gasoline stations across California," Brown said.

The attorney general's office said it began its investigation back in 2006. The investigation uncovered hundreds of violations by the company.

Authorities found the company's gasoline stations had failed to properly maintain the required leak detection monitoring system for its gasoline tanks, failed to properly maintain spill alarms for its gasoline tanks, failed to properly conduct and maintain secondary containment testing and monitoring for its gasoline tanks.

The settlement requires the company and its subsidiaries, corporate parents and affiliates to comply with state law and take immediate steps to correct violations.

The judgment includes $7.8 million in civil and administrative penalties, $5 million to the Attorney General's Office, $5 million to the California State Water Resources Control Board, $700,000 to fund the Sacramento County Abandoned Well Restoration Project, $500,000 to California Climate Action Registry, $400,000 in investigative costs and attorneys' fees to the Attorney General's Office and $100,000 in investigative costs to the California State Water Resources Control Board.

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