People v Golden Gate Petroleum et al

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley Announce $3 Million Order for Payment of Civil Penalties from Golden Gate Petroleum for Underground Fuel Storage Tank Violations

Oakland, CA - Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley and Attorney General Xavier Becerra have announced that on March 13, 2017, the Contra Costa Superior Court ordered a payment of $3 million in civil penalties in the case People v. Golden Gate Petroleum, et al.

The penalties are to be paid by the defendants, the owners and operators of underground storage tank systems at retail gasoline stations in several counties in Northern California: Golden Gate Petroleum, Bay Area/Diablo Petroleum Company, Dennis O’Keefe, and Westgate Petroleum Company, Inc.

The environmental enforcement action was filed in 2007 by the Attorney General and the Alameda County District Attorney along with the offices of Humboldt District Attorney Maggie Fleming, Lake District Attorney Don Anderson, Mendocino District Attorney Charles David Eyster, Monterey District Attorney Dean D. Flippo, Santa Clara District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen, and Sonoma District Attorney Jill Ravitch.

The defendants were sued in 2007 for violations of environmental protection laws at their retail service stations. Those violations included failing to comply with requirements related to monitoring, inspection, and maintenance of underground storage tanks and underground storage tank systems; tampering with or disabling leak detection devices; and improperly handling hazardous wastes and hazardous substances.

The action was settled in 2011, and the defendants were ordered to pay $3 million in penalties and costs and to comply with specific environmental protection requirements. The Contra Costa Superior Court suspended an additional $3 million in penalties under the condition that the defendants comply with those requirements.

After recent inspections of facilities throughout the state, it was found that the defendants were in violation of environmental laws in counties throughout California. In Alameda County, it was discovered that the defendants did not comply with environmental requirements at a facility in Hayward and two facilities in Oakland. The totality of these violations prompted the current order of the additional fine payment.

“We expect defendants in environmental enforcement actions to comply with the legal mandates agreed upon,” states DA O’Malley.

“When defendants violate vital environmental laws they will be held accountable. My Office is dedicated to protecting our state’s natural resources and we are grateful to the Attorney General and our fellow District Attorneys for this joint effort to enforce and uphold California’s environmental protection laws.”

“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,” said Attorney General Becerra.

“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.”

Posted on Mar 15, 2017