SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) — Several gas station owners operating underground storage tanks around Northern California have been ordered to pay $3 million in civil penalties stemming from environmental violations, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has announced.
The defendants - Golden Gate Petroleum, Bay Area/Diablo Petroleum Co., Dennis O’Keefe and Westgate Petroleum Company Inc.- were first sued in 2007 for alleged violations of environmental protection laws. In 2011, they were ordered to pay $3 million in penalties. An additional $3 million was suspended so long as the defendants complied with the terms of the order. According to allegations, the defendants failed to do so.
The Contra Costa Superior Court handed down its most recent order on March 13.
“As the state’s chief enforcer of laws that protect our environment, I will use my independent authority to safeguard our public health and welfare whenever appropriate,” Becerra said in a statement. “I am pleased that this order held accountable those who would jeopardize our health and water supply. It should send a message to all environmental offenders that we are serious about protecting Californians and our environment. I want to thank my predecessor, Attorney General Kamala Harris, for her earlier pursuit of the enforcement of the suspended penalty, as well as Deputy Attorney General Reed Sato, our office’s lead.”
Joining Becerra in the environmental enforcement action were the offices of Alameda District Attorney Nancy O'Malley; Humboldt District Attorney Maggie Fleming; Lake District Attorney Don Anderson; Mendocino District Attorney Charles David Eyster; Monterey District Attorney Dean Flippo; Santa Clara District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen; and Sonoma District Attorney Jill Ravitch.